Having childhood asthma can be challenging, especially if their asthma affects their teeth and gums. Asthma has been known to increase the risk of oral diseases such as gum disease, ulcers, and cavities. Our mouths are a crucial aspect of our overall health, and whether you had asthma as a child or continue to live with this condition, it’s essential to understand that almost everything we do for our teeth and gums can have consequences. If you find yourself curious about this connection between asthma and oral diseases, then we’re here to help provide those answers.
Asthma is a condition that can be minor or chronic and occurs when a person’s airways become narrow, inflamed, and produce mucus, making it difficult to breathe. Many of the prominent symptoms, including coughing, wheezing, and tightness in the chest, can result in an increased risk of chronic respiratory diseases such as bronchitis or pneumonia. Often, these symptoms present more risks to children due to the vulnerability of their immune systems. In regards to how asthma can affect oral health, many oral diseases become more likely to form due to the constant pressure and restriction along the airways, causing conditions such as:
Gum Disease: Bacteria developing along the sides of the teeth, from the constant pressure of having an open mouth to breath, can lead to gum disease, making the mouth more prone to bacteria developing along the gum line, causing swelling and inflammation. This bacteria can also enter the bloodstream, causing a compromised immune system.
Dry Mouth: Constant mouth breathing can lead to dry mouth, which reduces saliva production and leads the mouth to become more prone to cavities and gum disease. Dry mouth by itself is an uncomfortable condition that makes the mouth more prone to decay-causing bacteria.
Halitosis: Also known as bad breath, dry mouth, and gum disease, can lead to chronic halitosis as a result of insufficient saliva production and present bacteria in the mouth.
Cavities: All of these conditions combined can increase the risk of cavities, which allow the harmful bacteria to tear down the enamel, reach into the dentin, and begin infecting the root channels of the tooth.
Out of the various conditions that can arise from having asthma, there are other factors related to asthma that can increase these risks. According to studies from the European Journal of Dentistry, medications such as bronchodilators and steroids can increase the risk of oral health problems due to how they impact the mouth and immune system. It’s important to assess the side effects of the medication your using and speak with your primary care physician or specialist about your options.
If you have asthma, then it’s important to know that you have options for treatment. Dentists can help prescribe medications and find treatments that work with your needs as a patient and provide you with long-standing good oral care that will last throughout your life. For more information, arrange an appointment with your dentist today!