People with asthma may have some particular oral health needs. At Southern Cross Dental, we provide care to patients of all ages in the Colorado Springs area. Although we can restore the structure and whiteness of teeth that have been damaged by caries, we want our patients to be able to avoid them in the first place, which is why people with asthma should know to take additional precautions.
Asthma is a condition in which people’s airways are inflamed and produce extra mucus. More severe cases are more highly correlated with tooth decay. One of the consequences of asthma or the medications used to counter it is dry mouth, known scientifically as xerostomia. We need saliva to keep our mouths at a pH level that allows enamel to rebuild its minerals. Saliva also makes it easier for us to swallow food debris, depriving acid-producing bacteria of nutrients. Although patients should follow their doctor’s instructions regarding medications, they should take dry mouth seriously and can mitigate it by using throat moisturizers and drinking plenty of fluids.
Dry mouth isn’t the only challenge facing asthma patients. To prevent throat constrictions, some patients are prescribed muscle relaxants. This could allow stomach acid to flow upwards into the mouth, through a process called acid reflux. Besides being painful, this can cause enamel erosion. Acid reflux may be countered through lifestyle changes such as avoiding large meals, particularly red meat, onions, garlic, and alcohol, before bed and while lying down. Patients should also be aware that asthma medications are often sugary, and as part of a night-time routine, it’s a good idea to take them prior to brushing their teeth.
Drs. Navid and Faranak Rahimpour operate Southern Cross Dental at 1855 S Nevada Ave, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 80905-2516. To schedule an appointment, call 719-471-1717 or visit Southern Cross Family Dentistry and fill out a contact sheet.