This common medical problem can have potential implications for your oral health.
Asthma is a very common problem amongst both adults and children. At its most severe, it can require emergency medical intervention although most sufferers are able to manage it well through medication, usually via inhalers prescribed by their GP.
Asthma can also have an affect on your oral health and also have implications for your treatment, especially where anxiety is a potential trigger for your asthma attacks.
What is asthma?
Briefly, asthma is a condition that causes breathing difficulties. It can be brought on by a number of things including both allergies and anxiety. In today’s polluted and often stressful world, it is probably not surprising then that we are seeing an increasing number of cases. In the UK alone, there are estimated to be in the region of 4.5 million people receiving treatment for this condition.
What dental problems can it cause?
There are a number of issues surrounding asthma and the use of inhalers that can result in dental problems. These include the fact that many asthma sufferers tend to breathe through their mouth rather than their nose due to constriction of the airways. Breathing in this way causes the flow of air over our teeth and gums and can lead to a dry mouth. As we know from previous blogs, a dry mouth can lead to problems such as gum disease and tooth decay as bacteria thrive in this type of environment. It is therefore very important to make sure that you stay well hydrated to minimise the risk.
The inhalers that are commonly used to manage asthma can occasionally lead to lesions on the roof of the mouth. If left, these can become infected and the infections may, potentially, spread to the other soft tissues in the mouth. If you notice a redness or soreness after using these, you should consult your GP.
Children are one of the groups most affected by asthma, although some do ‘grow out’ of this as they get older. The use of inhalers though can cause a child’s teeth to become ‘mottled’. This is because the medication that is provided in the form of a spray has a slightly acidic content and, over time, can cause the enamel of the teeth to erode. This can not only lead to a mottled appearance, but also increase the risk of problems like tooth decay. It is a good idea to rinse your mouth with water after spraying so that at least some of this will be removed. You should, of course, also see your convenient Wickford dentist on a regular basis so that we can monitor the health of your teeth.
Advise your dentist
If you have been diagnosed as being an asthmatic, it is important that we are aware of it. As with any medical information that you give us, you can be sure that the Cygnet Dental Practice will respect your privacy and we have robust measures in place to make sure that this information remains private. Although this is a common medical issue, it is still important that you let us know please.
One issue that is a potential major concern for dental care in asthmatics is anxiety. This is a common trigger for asthma attacks in many sufferers and, as we know, dental anxiety is not uncommon.
It is important that we are made aware if this is an issue that affects you so that we can help in any way that we can. Although our Wickford dentists always treat our patients in a calm and caring manner, we are aware that for some patients, dental treatments can create a genuine anxiety that can result in panic attacks. We will, accordingly, do all that we can to ensure that you receive your treatment with as less stress as possible. Patients who have asthma should make sure that they bring their inhalers with them when they come to see us, whether for a check up or a more complex treatment such as dental implant placement. We recommend that you keep the inhaler either in your hand or very close by, rather than at the bottom of a bag, so that it can be easily accessed should you need to use it.
Ongoing and regular professional dental care is important for asthmatics, as it is for everyone else. With a somewhat higher risk of decay and gum disease though, it is especially important that you are seen by one of our dentists on a regular basis.
Asthmatic or not, if you live in the Wickford or Rayleigh area, you can register to join our clinic by calling the Cygnet Dental Practice today on 01268 733078.