Dental Care and Asthma

My recent trip to the dentist for a regularly scheduled cleaning appointment turned into a great conversation with my hygienist about the effects of asthma on my teeth. I have experienced the general things, oral thrush, the staining from the inhaled steroids and dry mouth. I had never really treated my dry mouth outside of drinking more water. It turns out that drinking water is only a temporary solution because water does not contain moisturizers, in a conversation with a friend and fellow asthmatic we were discussing the merits of oral rinses. I decided to put this question to test by having a bit of an asthma Q & A with my dental hygienists.

Q: What is dry mouth and how do asthma medication affect it?

A: Xerostomia otherwise known is the subjective feeling of oral dryness, which may be associated with reduced salivary flow (i.e., hypo-salivation), change in saliva composition (e.g., from serious to mucous), or have no identifiable cause. While dry mouth is a common problem that may be little more than a nuisance in mild, time-limited cases, it can also alter enjoyment of food and the health of teeth. This is because saliva helps prevent tooth decay by limiting bacterial growth and washing away food particles, as well as enhances ability, to taste and swallow.1symptoms. I am not a fan of the dental experience, for me, it is the smell. I can handle the sounds but the smell of fluoride type things makes me feel icky. I thankfully have not needed rescue medication at the dentist but I have definitely had a few case in which the dentist or hygienist have asked if I needed it or if I was okay. My dentist office now has a special bin for rescue meds for its patients, they are in easy reach for the practitioner and the patient. I was surprised when my hygienist asked if I wanted to have it in close range. I do like this new development of the medication bin.

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