Dental Care and Asthma

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder that manifest in episodes of chest tightness, coughing, wheezing and labored breathing. It is caused by bronchiole inflammation and it leaves a person feeling like they can not get enough air. In fact asthma kills 5,000 people a year and many more than that suffer from asthma some have mild controllable asthma and other people have chronic, aggressive and uncontrolled asthma. Ironically, if it weren’t bad enough to suffer from this disorder, asthmatics also have an increased rate of cavities, bad breath and gum disease. Researchers believe the increased dental problems are due to the side effects from prolonged inhaler use, especially in young children.

To counter act the increased risk for dental problems it is a good idea to increase your preventive dental visits and use fluoride.

Your dentist will be proactive in your care by getting a complete oral history of your illness including how many attacks you generally have and how severe they are. Your dentist will also need to know what medications you use and what you’re known triggers are that cause an attack. You also need to make your dentist aware of any changes in your asthma medication and any complications or triggers from your asthma attacks. You should also bring your medication with you to every visit just in case they are needed.

Researchers have found that some dental materials can aggravate asthma including dentifrices, which is a liquid, paste or powder used to clean teeth. Other triggers include fissure sealants, which are generally applied to children’s teeth to prevent tooth decay. The tooth enamel dust from having a tooth drilled for a cavity for example can also be a trigger as can a combination of fluoride trays and cotton rolls. Methyl methactylate is a chemical compound used to make resins and plastics and is found in some dental products and can aggravate breathing in even those who are not asthmatic.

Dental treatment can cause a decrease of up to 15% of lung capacity in asthmatics usually after a local anesthesia is given or during a tooth extraction. If your asthma is not under control or you are having an asthma attack you should not under go any elective dental procedures or surgeries. If your asthma is not under control you may need to consider having any dental work done in a hospital setting as a preventive measure since most dental offices are not equipped to deal with a life threatening asthmatic attack.

But again preventive dental care can be the key to avoiding any dental procedures so make sure if you have asthma you see your dentist regularly, practice good oral hygiene and keep your dentist up to date on your asthma condition.

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Dental Care: 9 Myths and Facts About Cavities

Good dental care begins by regulating what you put in your mouth. At least that’s what dentists say, but who’s listening to them anyway? Recent studies reveal that people are not listening to their doctors when it comes to cavities. Thus, a number of myths have become popular belief. Here are a few of the most common ones.

Sugar Is The Only Thing That Causes Cavities

This is a myth, perhaps of the highest order. Cavities are actually produced when bacteria creates acids in the mouth. Any carb you consume starts that process. That includes sugars, but also includes bread, rice, vegetables and fruits. Any combination of these food products can trigger your mouth’s bacteria to create unwanted acids.

Acid Causes Tooth Decay

This is true. Acidic foods (including coffee) can weaken your enamel, which makes your teeth more prone to decay. Along with practicing good dental care, limiting your intake of acidic products throughout the day can greatly reduce your risk of experiencing tooth decay.

Kids Are More Prone To Cavities Than Adults

This one is a myth. Many dentists assert that water treated with fluoride has reduced decay in school-aged children by at least half over the past 20 years. On the flip side, however, senior citizens have experienced an increase due to medicines that dehydrate the mouth. Saliva protects the teeth, so it follows that less saliva means less protection.

Placing Aspirin On A Bad Tooth Eases Pain

Myth! You have to swallow aspirin to experience the effects. Aspirin is acidic, which means it does harm when in contact with your teeth. It can burn the gums and cause abscesses when placed in the mouth for long periods of time. Do not do this.

Decay Stops Once Treated

Fact. It’s true that once you treat a cavity, the decay spot disappears forever. If you take good care of your mouth, the decay from that particular spot will remain clear.

You’ll Know When You Have A Cavity

This is a big time myth. Sometimes you can detect cavities, which can be the painful way, but only because it has spread from somewhere else. Regular and timely checkups can detect cavities long before they show up or cause unreasonable discomfort.

Cavities Are More Likely To Fester Between Teeth

Fact! Bacteria like to hide where you can’t reach with a toothbrush or floss. Using mouthwash on a regular basis can help reduce the likelihood of bacteria buildup.

Grinding and Clinching Leads To Cavities

This one is a myth, but not entirely. Though acid causes decay, clenching or grinding can weaken your teeth and cause cracking, which gives bacteria another pocket to live in. While it is not the root cause of bad oral hygiene, clenching and grinding can certainly promote acid build up.

Good dental care begins at home. Distinguishing myths from facts will help you achieve that bright, healthy smile you long for. As always, be sure to visit your dentist on a regular basis to optimize those results.

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