Asthma May Increase Periodontitis Risk
Posted by AESTHETIC DENTISTRY on Oct 20 2020, 10:56 AM
Asthma is a disease that causes inflammation and the narrowing of the airways, which can in turn cause breathing issues, coughing, wheezing, and other serious and potentially fatal side effects.
Now, a new study has found that asthma may cause yet another condition: gum disease. The study, which was published in the Journal of Periodontology, found that people with asthma are more likely to have periodontal disease than those who do not have asthma.
The biggest question is why this jump in numbers among those who are asthmatic. Dr. Martin Abelar, a dentist in San Diego, California, explains.
"According to the study, the belief is that the patients’ inhalers may be to blame," he says.
That’s because patients' inhalers may be causing a condition called dry mouth. According to the study, the medication in the inhaler and asthmatic patients having difficulty breathing creates the perfect environment for dry mouth, which in turn causes its own problems.
"Dry mouth can cause bad breath, cavities, and even gum disease," says Abelar. "That’s because, without saliva to keep mouths moisturized, harmful plaque bacteria called p.gingivalis can thrive in the mouth, on the teeth, and in the gums."
Inflammation is another enemy of asthma, typically occurring in the lungs, but Abelar reasons that inflammation from gum disease probably doesn’t help matters when it comes to asthma.
"Any inflammation is bad for the body," he says. "We’ve seen it time and time again with inflammation from gum disease worsening conditions like diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, Alzheimer’s, and even stroke."
Abelar says patients with asthma can reduce their risk of developing dry mouth by caring for their teeth and gums by brushing twice a day, flossing, and by using a moisturizing mouthwash. You can also up your water intake or chew sugarless gum to stimulate the salivary glands.
"If you are finding that traditional steps taken to moisturize your mouth just aren’t working, talk to your dentist about prescription products that might help better than the over-the-counter products available do," he says.
As for asthma, Abelar says you shouldn’t let conditions like dry mouth prevent you from taking your asthma medication, so please do not discontinue treating asthma unless it is under the guidance and order of your doctor. There may be medications that are less drying, but it may simply be a matter of switching up your oral health routine, too.