Corticosteroid inhalers and other types of inhalers are used to treat COPD, asthma and other pulmonary conditions. Inhalation therapy is on the rise due to the increase in chronic respiratory diseases. While most people using these medications are aware of some of the side effects, it is also important to understand how these meds can affect your oral health.
Your Inhaled Meds are Important
Even though your meds may have some adverse effects on your oral health, they are important for your respiratory health, and you need to continue taking them as prescribed by your physician. Beta 2 agonists and inhaled steroids can increase your risks for cavities, erosion of dental enamel, gum disease and oral yeast infections if you do not take the proper precautions.
Fortunately, you do not have to choose between healthy teeth and being able to breathe! You only have to know how to improve your oral hygiene habits to minimize any damage your particular medicine could cause.
Research has shown that high dosages and long durations of inhaler use is linked with certain oral problems. Asthma often begins in childhood and the use of inhalers can continue for years, if not decades. COPD usually occurs later in life, but in treating it, high dosages are often necessary. Additionally, treatment for COPD is often of a long duration, which increases the risk for the associated oral problems.
Certain inhalers can affect the salivary flow in the mouth, decreasing it and promoting an oral environment ripe for the development of dental caries and gingivitis. Some inhalants have fermentable carbohydrates and sugar included in their ingredients, which further complicates the problem.
Low pH is another factor. This condition leads to demineralization of tooth enamel. Saliva keeps the oral environment at a particular pH level. When the saliva flow is affected, so is the pH. Studies have shown that many individuals will consume acidic beverages to help with the reduction of saliva. This is especially true for children. This practice only makes the oral environment more conducive to the development of cavities and gum issues.
Your inhalers for treatment of lung disease are vital. Working with your dentist to improve and maintain your oral health is critical in keeping your teeth and gums healthy when using these important medications. In addition to talking with your dentist, you can also improve your oral health by developing good oral hygiene habits, brushing and flossing your teeth properly at least twice a day. Sipping water throughout the day, rather than acidic and/or sugary drinks, is also advised.
Your dentist may prescribe products that help with dry mouth, including antimicrobial mouth rinses and topical antibacterial preparations. These products can help with low saliva flow, halitosis and the bad taste that can be caused by inhalers.
At Envision Dental, we can help you achieve and maintain your best oral health. Give us a call and make your appointment today.