Beware of oral complications from this respiratory disease
In years past, asthma attacks could be unpredictable and difficult to control. Today, medications have been developed to control attacks—in some cases preventing them from occurring at all.
If you—or a member of your family—still suffer the attacks, check with your physician about new treatment methods.
Although we may not know its exact cause, most people are familiar with asthma, the chronic lung disease that makes breathing difficult. Asthma may be triggered by allergens such as pollen, animal dander, dust, and dust mites, or by irritants such as smoke, fumes, and strong odors. Even certain foods or weather changes can set off an asthma attack, which may be characterized by shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, wheezing and coughing.
There is also a dental side to the situation. Many asthma patients are mouth breathers. Mouth breathing can dry out and inflame the gums. It interferes with the ability of saliva to protect the teeth from bacteria and mouth acids. In extreme cases, mouth breathing may affect the position of the front teeth to the point where orthodontic treatment is required. Studies also indicate that mouth breathing contributes to abnormal facial development in children.
Asthma is a controllable condition that should not prevent you from enjoying a healthy and active life—including a healthy mouth.