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21Jan2013

The Relationship Between Asthma And Cavities

ACCORDING TO THE CDC, 1 in 10 kids in the U.S. suffers from asthma. That means that at least 10% of kids have an increased risk of tooth decay—due to dry mouth.

Surprised? Not many people know how asthma relates to cavities, even people with asthma themselves.

What Does Asthma Have To Do With Cavities?

When drawing one’s breath doesn’t come easily, most people compensate by breathing through their mouths. In turn, breathing through your mouth causes your mouth to dry out. When there’s not enough saliva to protect and clean your teeth, you’re left more vulnerable to decay-causing bacteria. In addition, some people compound the problem by sipping on sugary drinks all day trying to quench the dryness!

As if that weren’t enough, asthma and allergy medications themselves can cause even more dryness on top of the mouth breathing. Not a good combination.

Here’s The Evidence

A Swedish study of children and young adults with similar backgrounds and habits evaluated the links between asthma and caries. Within the group with asthma, 19 out of 20 kids developed tooth decay. In the group of asthma-free kids 7 out of 20 developed tooth decay.

Even though a lot of kids grow out of asthma, the habits learned as a child can stick with them through life. That’s why it’s important to understand the risks of dry mouth. Check out the video below for more information:

What You Can Do About It

Asthma may not have a simple fix, but tooth decay does. First and foremost, stick faithfully to the basics. Brush at least twice a day and floss to clean the places in your mouth where brushing misses. Keep your scheduled cleaning and checkup appointments. Avoid foods and drinks that are most harmful to your teeth.

And specific to this issue, here are some tips for increased, healthy saliva flow:

  • Consider chewing sugarless gum.
  • Consider occasionally sucking on sugarless mints.
  • Be sure to drink water regularly.

One More Special Note About Asthma

If your kid has asthma, please let our team know! The more we know about your family’s health the better. It helps us advise and serve you better. If you have any questions about how asthma can impact your child’s oral health, please ask us! We’re honored to be your resource.

Thanks for being a fantastic part of our practice! We appreciate our relationship with you.

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