May is Asthma Awareness Month, which makes it a great time to educate people on this very common, yet very serious, disease. Around 25 million Americans, both children, and adults, have asthma, and it can’t be cured. While asthma predominantly affects the respiratory system and can cause shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, and chest tightness, your dentist in Lake Oswego wants all asthmatics to know that it can also affect oral health.
Asthma & Oral Health
Even though asthma can’t be cured, the good news is that it can often be treated. Many asthma sufferers will use inhalers to help control their asthma symptoms, but other medications also exist. It’s there where oral health problems related to asthma begin.
- Dry Mouth
Inhalers and other asthma treatments can cause dry mouth. Dry mouth is an oral health condition that can be uncomfortable, but the truth is, it could also cause some dental concerns. When there’s not enough saliva in your mouth, bacteria and acids that would typically be washed away will hang around and attack teeth. This can weaken tooth enamel and increase the risk of decay, cavities, bad breath, and gum disease. Anyone experiencing dry mouth, whether they’re asthmatic or not, should talk to their dentist in Lake Oswego.
- Mouth Breathing
Another concern that often affects those with asthma is mouth breathing. When we have trouble breathing, we will automatically start breathing out of the mouth instead of the nose. Since asthmatics typically have more difficulty breathing than those without asthma, they are more likely to breathe out of their mouths to get the oxygen they need. However, mouth breathing can quickly cause dry mouth. So not only are asthmatics more likely to experience dry mouth due to medications,but regular mouth breathing also increases the risk.
How to Fix Dry Mouth
Dry mouth can leave us feeling constantly thirsty, and it is just simply uncomfortable. But the good news is that there are some tried and true tricks that can help alleviate dry mouth.
- Stay Hydrated. Those with dry mouths may already drink more water throughout the day. This is important. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day helps keep the mouth hydrated, which will more effectively wash away bacteria and neutralize damaging acids.
- Rinse With Water. After taking asthma medication, a quick rinse with water will help remove the drying ingredients, lowering the risk of dry mouth.
- Talk to Your Dentist. It’s important to communicate any health conditions to your dentist in Lake Oswego. Knowing your health history helps your dental team customize treatment for you and notifies them to be on the lookout for any oral health concerns that may result from other health problems in the rest of the body.
As always, never stop any medication without first talking to your physician, brush and floss your teeth every day, and visit your dentist at least every six months for cleanings, dental x-rays, and checkups.