Asthma and oral health are closely related. Asthma is caused by the airways narrowing and swelling. This can happen at varying levels, but our mouth is gateway to our breathing, so when our breathing is impacted, so is our mouth. Gum disease occurs when bacteria build up along the gum line. Without the appropriate oral health care, that plaque may build up to the point of infection. If the saliva doesn’t appropriately wash away bacteria and food debris, it could increase the risk of gum disease. Asthma is a disadvantage on its own, so it is important to be mindful of the potential risk for gum disease so that it can be prevented.
How Asthma Can Lead To Gum Disease
Chronic dry mouth can be a symptom of asthma. Saliva is important in washing away bacteria and food debris, so if the saliva is limited or non-existent, it is more likely that there will be build-up, increasing the risk of gum disease. Shortness of breath leads to rapid breathing, and the constant inhaling and exhaling leads to a decrease in saliva production, which ultimately causes dry mouth. Saliva keeps the mouth healthy by removing bacteria before it has a chance to build up in the mouth. If the bacteria builds up it may cause cavities, tooth decay, or gum disease. Dry mouth has other effects, as it can lead to persistent bad breath. Medications associate with asthma can also decrease saliva production. The puffs from inhalers can linger inside the mouth and cling to oral tissue which inhibits salivary glands.
Stopping asthma medication is not an option, but there are ways to limit the impact of asthma on gum disease. If you are worried about the connection between asthma and gum disease, or you are experiencing other issues, please call us and our periodontists will happily help answer your questions.