Asthma Has a Role in Dental Health

APRIL 01, 2004

Published reports have indicated that asthma and tooth decay are among the major causes of school absenteeism in the United States. Children with asthma have a significantly higher rate of decayed, missing, and filled teeth, in the primary and permanent teeth. Adults and children with asthma may require a more aggressive dental-caries?prevention protocol, once asthma is diagnosed. Individuals with asthma may be more susceptible to the following oral-health changes:

  • Increased rate of caries development due to prolonged use of beta2 agonist inhalers and asthma medications that contain sugar
  • Reduced salivary flow because of inhaler use
  • Increased likelihood of oral tissue changes
  • Increased levels of gingivitis and gum disease

Dental experts have issued the following tips for proper dental care for asthmatics:

  • Make frequent dental visits to prevent gum disease and cavities
  • Take caries-prevention measures by following a good home care routine
  • Update the dentist about changes in medications, date of last asthma attack, last emergency room visit because of asthmatic complications, and factors that cause an asthmatic reaction
  • Take preoperative medications, and bring the medications to the dentist's office



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