Asthma and Dental Health

Possible Causes for Dental Cavities in the West Midlands

Cases of asthma seem to be continually on the rise, and whilst we don’t wish to become involved in the debate as to why this is the case, it is probably safe to say that at least some of it may be caused by the side effects of industrialisation and the subsequent reduction in the quality of air that we breathe. With some parts of the West Midlands still being quite heavily industrialised, it should perhaps not be a surprise that asthma is a problem in these parts.

As dentists based in Sutton Coldfield, we have been interested to read reports claiming that patients with asthma also tend to have an increase in dental problems. On the surface of it, this doesn’t seem entirely logical as asthma predominantly affects the lungs. However, there are two possible key causes why it may indeed be the case that asthma sufferers are more likely to need dental work done.

Medication Side Effects

Although this is still debated by some in the medical profession, it is widely believed that medication given for the treatment and relief of asthma has an effect on the person’s teeth. Many of these medications contain steroids which can have the side effect of causing a dry mouth. This is a major problem, also found amongst smokers, in that the reduced flow of saliva is unable to wash away the bacteria which causes dental decay and gum disease as effectively as should be the case.

Mouth Breathing

Many asthmatics and those perhaps who suffer from sinus problems, have a tendency to breath through the mouth. Whilst this does ensure that oxygen reaches the lungs, it, once again, is a significant cause of a dry mouth with the effects as mentioned above. Even those who consciously breathe through their nose during the day are likely to resort, subconsciously, to breathing through their mouth whilst asleep.

Preventative Care in Asthmatics

Because of the potential problems of having a dry mouth, it is especially important for sufferers to follow a good oral health regime. As well as the standard regular brushing and flossing on a daily basis, steroid inhaler users should ensure that they rinse and spit after using them. It is also advisable to ensure that water is drunk frequently throughout the day and before sleep, to help to prevent a dry mouth and improve the saliva flow.

Dental Appointments

Naturally, it is important for asthma patients to keep regular check ups by visiting our Sutton Coldfield dental practice so that we can detect any early signs of dental decay or gum disease and treat them accordingly.

It is also important to remember that, although we practise gentle dentistry, some people do feel under stress when visiting a dentist and in cases of asthma sufferers, this may cause an attack. It is therefore important to ensure that if you suffer from asthma, you make sure that you have your inhaler with you during your visit.

If you have any concerns about your dental health and how your asthma may be affecting it, we are here to help and are available by calling our Sutton Coldfield dental team on 0121 323 4492.