Dental Issues To Be Aware Of If Your Child Has Asthma
If your child has asthma, they might use an inhaler to manage the condition. While inhaler medications are vital to controlling airway inflammation, you may not realize that they can also affect your child's dental health. Take a look at dental issues that can arise with inhaler use and how to improve your child's oral health.
What Dental Issues Do Asthmatics Usually Face?
Oral sores, dry mouth, and cavities are just a few issues that your child might be prone to experiencing if they use an inhaler.
If an inhaler isn't cleaned properly, then your child could develop oral thrush (candida). Thrush can be treated with antifungal medications and is usually a minor problem; however, if your child has weaker immune system, they could develop raised lesions that make it difficult to eat or swallow comfortably.
Saliva is the oral cavity's natural cleaner, as it helps to wash away plaque. If a person suffers from dry mouth, then they may not have adequate saliva flow. Dry mouth can increase the risk of gingivitis, cavities, and halitosis.
Some asthma medications may cause dry mouth as a side effect. Since asthma restricts air flow, some people with asthma may breathe through their mouth rather than their nose, which can lead to dry mouth.
One study found that some inhalers have a low pH and contain sweetening ingredients which could lead to cavities. The same study found that anti-asthmatic corticosteroids could diminish bone density, which in turn could affect periodontal health. Children with asthma tend to have increased calcium levels in their saliva. While calcium is an important mineral for building bones, too much of it in the saliva flow can, again, affect the oral cavity's natural pH levels; and, calcium deposits on teeth can lead to tartar buildup on teeth.
What Can You Do to Help Your Child?
Although your child may be prone to the previously mentioned issues, that doesn't mean they need to stop the use of asthma medication. With a little extra care, your child can have excellent dental health. For example, your dentist may recommend a different type of inhaler that contains ingredients that are less likely to cause cavities. You should also be sure that you or your child rinses the inhaler mouthpiece so that it's clean and not spreading bacteria/thrush. If your child deals with dry mouth, have them carry a water bottle and/or chew sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva flow. Lastly, nothing beats staying on top of regular brushing and flossing.
Reach out to a clinic like Promenade Center for Dentistry in your area for more tips and guidance.