Nearly 24 million Americans suffer from asthma and live their lives in fear of experiencing a severe asthma attack. Asthma is nothing to take lightly and is incredibly serious. In fact, approximately 3,000 die each year as a result of it. Even more become sick or hospitalized. While these statistics are incredibly scary, there’s a part of asthma that many may not be aware of, and everyone at my Columbia dental office wants you know about it.
The Asthma - Cavity Connection
Since those with asthma may have a harder time breathing properly, it’s much more common for them to breath out of their mouths instead of their noses. This is the first reason there may be a connection between having asthma and having cavities. Mouth breathing dries up the mouth and reduces saliva flow. Without saliva, your teeth are at increased risk for bacteria and decay. Adding to that, common asthma treatments may also cause dry mouth, which doubles the risk of inadequate saliva production and decay. Besides cavities, dry mouth can also lead to chronic bad breath.
How to Limit Your Chance of Dental Problems
If you suffer from asthma and take medication to control it, by no means do we want you to stop. However, there are a few things you can do to help limit the chance of dental problems.
Stay Hydrated. This goes for everyone, asthma sufferer or not. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day can keep your mouth hydrated and saliva flowing. The more saliva, the more bacteria is neutralized and washed away before it has a chance to damage your smile.
Rinse. After using your inhaler or other asthma treatment, it’s crucial to rinse your mouth with water. Water can rid your mouth of the drying ingredients before they have a chance to settle in and cause problems.
Tell Your Dentist. Your dentist should know if you have asthma for a couple of reasons. First, to discuss medications and if there is an increased risk of dry mouth. Second, to be aware of any anxiety-inducing things that may send you into an attack. Talk to your dental team about any fears you have or ways they can help keep you calm during your visits.
Besides the tips above, you can further help protect your smile by brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and visiting your dentist at least every six months. At-home oral hygiene is key for a healthy mouth, and can even fight off side effects of medications, either for asthma or another health concern. If it’s time for your dental cleaning and checkup, give my dental office in Columbia a call to schedule your appointment today.
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