New Delhi: When we focus on any one part of the body or any condition, some issues can be ignored. The body’s parts are interconnected, and it may be helpful to think of the body as a machine with many moving parts. Managing your asthma can be challenging enough, but it’s important to pay attention to other parts of the body. While the focus of asthma is primarily on the lungs, it is also important to pay attention to oral health including your tongue, teeth and throat.

People with asthma often experience dry mouth, which can be caused by restricted airflow or mouth breathing due to decreased saliva production. Dry mouth can lead to a variety of oral health problems, including gingivitis, tooth decay and oral candidiasis. Additionally, poor dental health resulting from bacterial overgrowth can lead to systemic health problems over time.

Like any medicine, asthma medicine can have potential side effects. There have been many studies that discuss the relationship between asthma and various aspects of oral health. The use of corticosteroids, anticholinergics, and bronchodilators can affect your teeth and throat.

Asthma treatments, such as inhalers, can exacerbate dry mouth caused by mouth breathing, increasing the risk of dry mouth tissues. Sinus blockage from allergies can also contribute to dry mouth. Inhaler use can also cause sores and ulcers on the roof of the mouth and throat, which may require antibiotics to treat. An imbalanced pH level in the mouth can result in Candida overgrowth and the development of oral thrush.

People with asthma are at a higher risk of developing gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD), which exposes the mouth to acids that can erode tooth enamel and lead to tooth decay. Some patients may turn to sweet syrups or gums to mask the taste of their medications, increasing their risk of cavities and tooth decay. Dr. Nirali Patel, Smile Design Expert and Oral Implantologist FICOI, USA shares tips on how one can prevent the effects of asthma on oral health:

Here are five ways to prevent the effects of asthma on teeth and gums:

1. Contact your dentist:

Inform your dentist that you have asthma and provide them with details about your medicines. If you experience dental anxiety, your dentist can develop a plan to make you feel more comfortable.

2. Schedule Regular Dental Check-Ups:

People with asthma should have regular dental checkups and cleanings before tooth decay or erosion becomes severe. Ask your dentist whether you need additional cleanings or fluoride treatments.

3. Clean your mouth after using the inhaler:

If possible, brush your teeth after using the inhaler. If not, rinse your mouth with water. Using a mouthwash containing fluoride may also provide additional protection.

4. Avoid dry mouth:

Drinking water throughout the day can prevent excess bacterial growth and dry mouth. Chewing sugar-free gum between meals can encourage saliva production and keep your mouth hydrated.

5. Manage Allergies:

Allergy treatment can reduce your need to breathe through your mouth. Since many asthmatics also suffer from allergies, it is important to stay on top of them.

Be sure to see your dentist regularly. They will be able to identify any of these possible situations and offer a protocol. Brush twice a day and floss every day as your dentist tells you. Stay in touch with both your dentist and doctor and report any changes in your mouth or throat to keep your asthma and oral health under control.

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