You wouldn’t think that something like asthma would affect your mouth, but surprise! It does. It is estimated that more than 25 million Americans have some form of asthma.
Asthma is a respiratory (breathing) condition that inflames and narrows your airways, causing periods of wheezing, shortness of breath, tightness in your chest, and coughing.
An inhaler is the most common method used to control asthma. The inhaler and its medication may cause irritation to the roof of your mouth (usually a reddish lesion). This lesion can become infected and spread to your throat or the rest of your mouth. Rinsing your mouth with water after using your inhaler helps to lessen the chance of irritation.
You should bring your inhaler to dental visits in case you feel an asthma attack coming on. (For some people anxiety may trigger an asthma attack, and we know that dental offices can cause some people to be anxious.)
Another factor is that people with asthma tend to be mouth breathers. Mouth breathing and corticosteroid medications (inhalers) both tend to decrease your salivary flow (dry mouth), which leads to less cleansing of the teeth and tissues. This can cause a higher cavity rate (more tooth decay) and bad breath.
Your gums may become inflamed if they are not cared for with good home care. If this goes on for a long time it can escalate to periodontal disease (loss of supporting bone for your teeth which can lead to loss of your teeth.)
Having asthma is not a sure-fire reason that any or all of these things will happen to you, but it is best to be proactive and try to prevent them from starting. We hope these tips will help you to do that. (Note: Information in this article is not intended to replace the clinical judgement of your healthcare professionals.)
Dr. Jennifer Robb is a general dentist who sees both adults and children.
1612 Cooper Foster Park Rd.
Lorain, OH 44053