Oral Health Awareness For Asthmatics
Some common health issues can negatively impact your teeth and gums. Asthma is one of them….
Asthma is a growing problem in the UK and worldwide. Factors such as the increasing amount of pollution have almost certainly contributed to this. For most people, it is a reasonably manageable condition, although for others it can potentially be more dangerous.
With more than 10% of the UK population being diagnosed with asthma, and probably additional ones that haven’t, it is worth taking a look at what effect this common medical issue can have on our oral health.
As with any other practice in the UK, Blue Sky Dental will have its fair share of patients who suffer from asthma. We strongly believe that preventative oral care is essential and today’s blog takes a look at some of the things that our asthmatic Chelmsford patients need to be aware of and how they can minimise the oral health effects of this problem.
Dry mouth/gum disease
Because of the difficulty in breathing that asthma can cause, many asthma sufferers have a tendency to breathe through their mouth instead of their nose. This often results in them having a dryer mouth as the air passes through the mouth. As we know from some of our previous blogs, a dry mouth provides an ideal condition for potentially harmful bacteria to thrive, sometimes leading to gum disease. Whilst this can often be managed through better home care and professional cleaning if caught early, it can eventually lead to loose teeth and even tooth loss if intervention does not happen quickly enough.
If you breathe through your mouth, do try to make sure that you stay well hydrated by drinking enough water and also see a hygienist every six months at our Chelmsford dental practice.
One thing that asthma sufferers should be aware of is that the brown or preventative inhaler that is commonly used contains a slightly acidic ingredient that comes into contact with your teeth when you spray it. This is usually mentioned in the information leaflet which is enclosed with the inhaler and is probably often thrown away without being read in many cases. Regular use of this inhaler can cause damage to the enamel on the teeth, causing erosion and potentially leading to sensitive teeth and even tooth decay. As the leaflet will state, when you have used the spray, you should swill your mouth out with water well in order to wash the spray from the tooth surface. Treatments are available if you already have eroded teeth and dental veneers are a commonly used solution.
Soft tissue damage
Although not overly common, the use of asthma inhalers can result in lesions to the soft tissues of the mouth. You should always let your dentist know if you are using these as we examine your oral tissues during your six monthly check ups. As infections can occur if the soft tissue is damaged, you should also mention this to your GP.
One thing that commonly triggers an asthma attack is anxiety. Unfortunately, some people do grow very anxious when they are due to visit the dentist. This is far from uncommon but whilst most people are able to overcome it enough to receive any treatment that they need, there is a concern that high anxiety levels might trigger an asthma attack in some sufferers. If you suffer from dental anxiety and are also an asthma sufferer, please do talk to us before your appointment. We can discuss your treatment with you and do all that we can to help to minimise any anxiety that you might feel about your forthcoming visit.
Asthma is perhaps more common in children, many of whom may grow out of it as they get older. The use of the ‘brown’, or preventative, inhaler on children’s teeth can cause them to become mottled. Parents should encourage their children to swill their mouth with water as soon as they have used their preventative inhaler as this will help to prevent this effect.
Most of the effects of asthma on our teeth can be minimised with the preventative care mentioned above, but you should also always make sure that you have a regular appointment to see a dentist so that we can monitor your teeth and gums and any impact on them due to your medical problem.
Make sure too, to see our dental hygienist as this will help you to keep your teeth and gums in the best condition possible.
Whether you are asthmatic or not, we are always happy to see new patients at our Chelmsford clinic. To make an appointment, or if you have any questions, you can call Blue Sky Dental on 01245 211070.