People with asthma know just how serious and scary of a disease it is. It causes airways to narrow, makes it hard to breathe, and can potentially be life-threatening. There is currently no cure, but there are advanced treatments and medications that can help keep airways open so more air can pass through. However, the team at our dental office in Douglasville knows that both asthma and the medicines used to treat it may lead to cavities.
How Are Asthma and Cavities Linked?
The main symptom of asthma is difficulty breathing since the narrowing of airways restricts oxygen flow. Because of this, many people with asthma tend to be mouth breathers, simply because it’s a little easier to get the air they need. While this involuntary response allows asthma patients to catch their breath, it can result in dry mouth. Some of the most common asthma medications also can cause dry mouth as a side effect. When a mouth is too dry, there’s not enough saliva to keep the mouth moist, help neutralize acids, or wash away harmful bacteria. This means that all of the acid and bacteria left behind can wear away tooth enamel and cause tooth decay and cavities.
How Can You Reduce Your Risk?
There are multiple things you can do to help minimize your risk of dry mouth and cavities caused by asthma or asthma treatment:
- Drink More Water. Choosing to drink water instead of juice or soda helps rehydrate your mouth and will help eliminate the dangerous bacteria and damaging acids. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water throughout the day, every day.
- Rinse Your Mouth. A quick rinse with water or fluoride mouthwash after taking asthma medication or using an inhaler will wash away some of the drying ingredients so they’re not left lingering around for a long time. The sooner you can rinse, the better.
- Brush Well, Brush Often. One of the best ways you can protect your teeth against dry mouth and cavities is to brush your teeth every day. A good brushing for two minutes in the morning and again at night removes food particles that may still be lingering around and washes away bacteria that have built up throughout the day. It’s also important to floss once a day to get the parts of your teeth a toothbrush just can’t reach.
- See Your Dentist in Douglasville Regularly. While it’s important for everyone to go to the dentist at least twice a year, it’s particularly important for those with asthma. These visits help us thoroughly remove any plaque buildup and allow for early diagnosis and treatment of any issues that may have popped up.
Your care team at our Douglasville dental office is dedicated to keeping you healthy and encourages you to talk to us about your health history and medication use so we can get an accurate picture of your overall health and understand what may be affecting your oral health. If you have any questions or if there’s anything we can do to help keep you relaxed during visits, just let us know.
May is the month when we take a Sunday to thank our moms for all that they do for us. At our dental office in Douglasville, we want to take the whole month and dedicate it to the women of our practice and our community by talking a bit about the unique oral health concerns that affect women throughout every stage of their lives.
Hormonal Changes Affect Oral Health
The truth is that since women experience fluctuations in hormone levels at different stages of life, they also have different dental concerns than men. Whenever hormones change, usually during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause, other things in the body also change that cause women to be at increased risk for gum disease and other oral health problems.
Between the ages of 8 and 14, girls will start to go through puberty and experience changes in their body. One of the biggest changes will be with their hormones. While this can affect emotions and mood, this hormonal roller coaster can also influence oral health. Increases in estrogen and progesterone boost blood flow to the mouth and particularly to the gums. Because of this, many girls will experience red, swollen gums that may even bleed while brushing their teeth. It’s important to maintain a good oral health routine of brushing twice a day and flossing once a day to help keep gums healthy.
Once a woman has her first period, hormones continue to rise and fall during her menstrual cycle. She may still experience puffy gums that bleed a few days before her period. During this same time it’s also common for a canker sore or two to pop up, which usually disappear in a few days. Changes in hormones may also lead to dry mouth which increases the risk for decay, cavities, and bad breath.
Dental care is particularly important during pregnancy. In fact, poor oral health throughout a pregnancy may lead to a premature birth, gestational diabetes, or preeclampsia. Gingivitis is also common for pregnant women, again thanks to hormonal changes. Besides brushing and flossing daily, pregnant women should visit their dentist in Douglasville some time during the second trimester.
Menopause usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, but can happen earlier or later. Whenever a woman goes through menopause, estrogen decreases and increases the risk of bone loss and osteoporosis. Bone loss is concerning for dental health since it can affect the jaw bone, which holds teeth in place. As jaw bone deteriorates, there’s an increased risk for tooth loss. However, thanks to advancements in dental technology, these teeth can be replaced by either dentures or dental implants.
Our Douglasville dental office is here to help all the women (and men!) of our community get and keep their mouths healthy, no matter what changes their bodies go through. We’re always welcoming new patients, so schedule an appointment with us today!