Asthma Medication and Tooth Decay – the Facts

The more advanced dentistry becomes, the more your dentist is able to help prevent problems such as decay, missing teeth or infection. The other side of this equation, however, is that the more advanced the science of dental health evolves to be, the more complex some of its strictures can come to seem. There was a time, for example, when looking after your teeth meant simply avoiding eating too much sugar, cleaning them every day and visiting your dentist if you developed toothache.

As the knowledge base of dentists in general has increased, so the advice given to patient has become more complex. Whilst this means that the average person, if they follow this advice, is far more likely to maintain a set of strong healthy teeth, it also means that the advice given to bring about this situation is evolving to become more detailed and complicated. Brushing technique, for example, can now be handed down by a dental hygienist, and will include advice not to brush too hard, whilst the foods that you should avoid for the sake of your teeth include otherwise healthy items such as tomatoes and apples. The upshot of all of this is that anyone seeking to maintain a healthy set of teeth should work closely with their dentist and dental hygienist, since the professionals will make it their business to stay abreast of the latest developments and will pass on the newest advice as to how to avoid threatening the integrity, strength and health of your teeth.

A good example of this phenomenon is the fact that tooth decay may well be linked to the use of asthma medication. Studies taking place in Australia and Scandinavia have pointed to the fact that asthma medication may increase the likelihood of tooth decay because of its highly acidic content. If an inhaler is used in the correct manner then none of the medication should come into contact with the teeth, but the truth is that inhalers, particularly if used without the aid of a spacer, can often simply fill the mouth, rather than the lungs, with medication which can then have the effect detailed. Another threat to the enamel of the teeth is the fact that asthma medication is sometimes given in the form of a powder, which is far more likely to leave a residue on the teeth of the patient. If this residue is allowed to build up over a period of time then it could cause decay, and the symptoms to look out for are as follows:

  • Brown areas on the surface of the teeth (often starting very small)
  • A rough feeling when you run your tongue over the surface
  • Increased sensitivity

If you need to use medication to prevent asthma then this is clearly the factor which should take priority. Steps can be taken after using the medication to minimise the damage, and it would be risky in the extreme to reduce then levels of medication being inhaled. If you’re worried that asthma medication may be affecting your teeth then rinse the mouth after every application and adhere to a strict dental hygiene regime, include the correct brushing technique and the use of flossing. Regular visits to your dental hygienist will also help, as the fluoride paste they apply will play a vital part in strengthening the enamel of your teeth.

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