There have recently been some rumors floating around about the link between Asthma and cavities. The first thought that would come to most people’s minds is that maybe the albuterol from the inhalers could have some sort of corrosive effect on teeth. Well, as it turns out it’s nothing in the actual chemical makeup in albuterol, however, the side-effects of the inhaled medication could have something to do with the connection.
Albuterol ‘s main side effect is that is lowers saliva saturation in the mouth. So, when an Asthmatic has difficulty drawing breath they’ll compensate by breathing through their mouth. The problem is, breathing through the mouth causes the saliva in your mouth to dry out. This in turn reduces saliva’s ability to protect and clean your mouth, which is of course, saliva’s primary function.
The teeth are then left open to all kinds of decay causing bacteria. In addition, it causes people to naturally want to moisten their mouth to counteract the drying effect. The problem there is that many people choose sugary drinks to achieve this goal and their teeth pay the price. With less protecting saliva the sugar and acids ravage the un-protected teeth.
What to Do
If you’re an Asthmatic it’s best to notify your dentist if you haven’t already. Explain what treatments you may be using so that the dentist is aware of your medication regime. After using your inhaler, (if you use one) be sure to use water to rinse your mouth out. Also, try to use a fluoride mouth wash as much as possible. If you brush mid-day after a meal you can usually find a small carryable container of mouthwash at most stores.
Lastly, be extra vigilant with your oral hygiene, as the dry mouth caused by albuterol leaves you at a larger risk for tooth decay. So remember to talk to Colorado Springs dentist, Dr. Hall at your next visit if you have asthma and use albuterol. He can help you adjust your dental needs accordingly.