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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