Asthma and tooth decay: Is there a connection?

Q: Are there any dental problems associated with asthma?

A: According to a study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, there doesn’t seem to be a link between asthma and tooth decay. Surprisingly enough, children with asthma tend to have fewer cavities than children without asthma. Dr. Gerardo Maupome, one of the study’s authors, suggests that this may be because asthmatic children tend to see doctors frequently, including dentists, so their teeth are better cared for than those of children without asthma.

While asthma itself doesn’t cause dental problems, some of the medications you take for it can. Rescue inhalers (also known as adrenergic agonists) and an asthma drug called cromolyn can both give you dry mouth, which makes you more vulnerable to cavities. Some anti-inflammatory medications (also known as corticosteroids) can also cause dry mouth, and they can also leave you more vulnerable to develop fungal infections (candidiasis or thrush) in your mouth. If you use corticosteroids, you should use them with a device called a spacer. This is a plastic tube that attaches to your inhaler and controls the dose you’re inhaling. And always rinse your mouth after you use your inhaler.

If you have asthma, be sure to inform your dentist so they can treat you appropriately.

Dr. Natalie Khadavi sees children and adults in Culver City and serves the greater Los Angeles area. Visit our website or give us a call at (310) 482-3971 for more information about how we can provide you and your family with healthy smiles that last a lifetime.

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