Asthma is a very prevalent disorder affecting one in five Americans. Asthma can be chronic or intermittent and it can affect adults or children. Asthma causes bronchial spasms that make it hard to bet a breath – and it can be life-threatening.
But what does asthma have to do with your oral health? Turns out, a lot.
Prevalence of Asthma
Web MD shares some statistics on the incidents of asthma:
- Eight percent of the population has asthma.
- In eight years (2001 to 2009) asthma rates rose by 50% in children.
- On average, children miss four days of school and adults five days of work every year due to asthma.
- 44% of the children who have asthma end up in the hospital.
Another fact that you may not know is that asthma increases your risk of developing gum diseases, cavities, and mouth sores. Some of the side effects of asthma include:
- Dry mouth. This is because asthma cuts off airflow, so those affected typically breathe through their mouth. Too, the treatment by inhalers can also make the linings of the mouth dry out. The problem with dry mouth is that our saliva naturally washes off bacteria from our teeth. When saliva dries up, that natural cleansing process is disrupted.
- Oral sores occur sometimes from the asthma inhaler that asthma patients use.
But there is a remedy to help fight these problems. Here are some oral hygiene tips if you suffer from asthma symptoms.
Dental Health and Asthma
Our first tip is to always brush your teeth after you use your inhaler. At the very least, wash your mouth out with water or mouthwash.
Next, drink more water. It will help flush bacteria from your teeth as well as helping to alleviate the effects of dry mouth.
Third, and this is whether you have asthma or not; skip eating sugar. It will lessen the chance of developing cavities. Ask your doctor about the level of sugar in your inhaler; some manufacturers actually add sugar to the medication to make it taste better. Also, discuss allergies with your doctor. Usually, asthma goes hand-in-hand with allergies, so make sure your allergies are being treated in addition to your asthma.
Finally, slow down. Anxiety and stress can make asthma flare up and the symptoms worsen.
Gum Disease Makes Asthma Worse
The Oral Health Foundation cited research that shows gum disease actually makes asthma worse. In fact, adults with gum diseases are five times more likely to develop asthma. The study they cite showed that less than half of adults have an adequate oral hygiene routine. It also showed that not caring for your oral hygiene increases the risk of asthma significantly. Gum disease can also cause heart problems and other major and serious disorders.
Good oral hygiene is important whether you suffer from asthma or not. Avoiding sugar, flossing daily, and brushing with good fluoride toothpaste, are all-important aspects of good oral hygiene. Seeing Dr. Hadley and his team will help you maintain the health of your teeth, mouth, and gums for a lifetime. If you haven’t seen us recently, please give us a call to schedule an appointment.