The connection between asthma and oral health

With viruses thriving in colder weather, more people will get sick with upper respiratory infections during winter. These respiratory infections can trigger asthma attacks, which surprisingly, may have an impact on your smile. 

Depending on the inhaler used to stop attacks, those with asthma may experience oral health side effects. These can include bad breath, mouth ulcers and oral thrush. People with oral thrush could notice mouth lesions, redness or burning, soreness, slight bleeding and loss of taste. Another common concern of inhaler use is dry mouth. Over time, this can increase your risk of gum disease and tooth decay. Watch for any of these signs, and promptly speak to your dentist if you notice them.

If your inhaler is causing your mouth to feel dry, take these steps to remedy it before it damages your teeth: 

• Use over-the-counter saliva replacements.

• Drink water more frequently.

• Chew sugar-free gum.

• Suck on sugar-free hard candy (don’t bite down!).

• Avoid caffeine, alcohol and tobacco.

• Limit your sugar intake. 

• Talk to your dentist about your dry mouth.

This season, take a deep breath and relax knowing you can protect your mouth even when your asthma acts up. Catching these oral health issues early and talking to your dentist can help keep your smile healthy any time of the year.