Attention to Oral Health Helps Asthma

by Dr. Anson Hooper, DDS, Hooper Family Dental

My daughters love doing anything active, from bike riding and hiking, to gymnastics and horseback riding, anything physical and competitive has their attention!

We love supporting them and watching them excel, but when all of this activity is coupled with asthma, as it is in the case of our youngest daughter, it can be much more challenging, and as a parent, at times it can be hard to watch.

If you or a loved one suffers from asthma or allergies, you’re aware of the layers of complexity they can bring to your life, but are you aware of the effects they have on your oral health?

It’s primarily the use of corticosteroids, anticholinergics, and bronchodilators that can lead to unwanted side effects. Studies show an increased prevalence of cavities, gingivitis, halitosis, and dry mouth are directly linked to these conditions.

While the focus of asthma is predominantly on the lungs, giving extra attention to oral health, including your tongue, teeth and throat, is important too!

Here are a few tips on ways you can protect yourself from some of these side effects:

  1. Rinse your mouth with water regularly after using your corticosteroid inhaler.
  2. Use a spacer for your inhaler. This allows the medication to enter your lungs more effectively, preventing the medication from undue contact with oral tissues.
  3. Consider chewing gum with xylitol to help keep your mouth moist between meals. Xylitol can aid in the prevention of cavities.
  4. Stay hydrated. Dry mouth stems from a lack of saliva and can worsen as we breathe through our mouth if our nose is runny or congested. Water is the best source of hydration for your body. Avoid sugary or acidic beverages as these can lead to other oral complications.

As parents, we can follow a daily plan to help care for our child’s teeth by helping them brush daily and promoting hydration. We can all be more vigilant with our oral care.

If you’re prone to dry mouth, you’ll want to pay special attention to these recommended habits. Brush twice a day, floss once a day, and visit your dentist regularly.