The Asthma–Tooth Decay Connection
The dental health of a child with asthma who is taking anti-asthmatic medication needs careful attention. According to a recent study, asthma and tooth decay are the two major reasons children and adolescents are absent from school. What’s more, there may be a connection between the two.
Experts say that children who use anti-asthmatic medications may have a higher rate of cavities in both primary and permanent teeth, as well as more severe decay. A 2007 study compared the dental condition of a group of children aged 6 to 14 years taking anti-asthmatic medication with that of a similar group of children without asthma. The results showed that children taking these medications, whether in inhaler or tablet form, had more cavities in their primary teeth and increased periodontal disease.
In addition, children with asthma tend to breathe through the mouth―that reduces saliva flow, causing dry mouth. Anti-asthmatic medications, such as corticosteroids, also affect the level of saliva. Because saliva has a cleansing effect, a reduction in saliva flow can lead to bad breath and increase the risk for cavities.
Be vigilant regarding your child’s oral health by adopting precautionary hygiene practices. Be sure your child brushes and flosses, ideally after every meal. Regular use of a suitable mouth rinse can also help prevent decay. Both the rinse and toothpaste should contain fluoride for added protection. And encourage your child to rinse his or her mouth with either water or an oral rinse after every inhaler use.
Relaxation techniques, such as focused breathing, can keep your child calm and anxiety-free, possibly preventing an asthma attack that might require medication. A balanced diet with plenty of protein can also have a calming effect. Limit the amount of sugary or sticky foods your child eats. Sweets can lead to cavities and leave him or her feeling overstimulated. A relaxed and well-nourished child is less likely to experience the anxiety that can trigger an asthma attack.
Finally, be sure to bring your child to see Dr. Jared for regular dental checkups, so any signs of decay can be treated before serious damage occurs. Everyone will breathe easier.
Call us to schedule an appointment today! 509-891-7070. We’d love to meet you and your family!