Tooth decay and asthma are two of the most common health problems that plaque children, adolescents, and many young adults. Asthma stands to affect 20 million Americans, 6.3 million of which are children. There has been research detailing a possible link between these two seemingly different health issues. The a dental hygienist and researcher out of Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg looked at patients of varying age ranges, consisting of 3, 6, 12 to 16 and 18 to 24 year olds. Her results demonstrated that 3-year olds with asthma were more prone to cavities than 3-year olds without respiratory issues. When looking at patients in older age ranges, the children and young adults with asthma developed more cavities and even more gum disease than their asthma-free counterparts. Within the asthma group, only 1 out of 20 patients was caries-free, while 13 out of 20 patients were caries free in the asthma-free group.
A possible theory that has been posed of this correlation hints at asthma medications being the culprit to the increase in cavities. Because these inhaler formulas are often comprise of powders, they live a dry residue that sticks to teeth. These medications may inhibit the production of saliva, which would lead to an individual getting more cavities. Not only do these medications limit saliva secretion, these drugs, including inhalers, syrups, and even sugar-coated steroids, are taken throughout the day, leaving users’ teeth exposed to a lot of sugar. Children with asthma also have more of a tendency to breathe through their mouth. This would then lead to the case of dry mouth, which would have also contributed to the higher cavities prevalence.
Patients should be in communications with dentists about the medication they use and their oral hygiene habits. It is important for dentists to know enough to effectively help keep cavities at bay. If you have any more questions, feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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