Dr. Frank E. Mork III &  Dr. Joe W. Johnson

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How Inhalation Therapy Could Be Affecting Your Oral Health

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Every day, dentists in Minneapolis, MN, treat oral problems related to inhaler use. Millions of Americans live with respiratory ailments such as asthma, COPD and chronic bronchitis and various types of inhalers are prescribed to treat these illnesses. While inhalation therapy is a life-saving treatment, steps need to be taken to minimize the inhaler’s effects on your oral health.

Oral Problems Related to Inhaler Use

Some corticosteroid inhalers have sugar-based medication. For this reason, it is important to always rinse your mouth out after using one. Side effects from these types of inhalers often include yeast infections or oral candidiasis. It is also known as thrush. Taste perception can also be altered. This happens when by-products created by the breaking down of the drug in the mouth interact with the saliva.

Certain ingredients in some inhalers can cause dry mouth. This condition can lead to various oral health problems if not addressed. First, the saliva flow is reduced, creating an oral environment likely to develop dental caries and gum disease. Harmful bacteria begin to thrive, creating acids that break down tooth enamel, and the decay process begins. 

Normally saliva washes away most of the bad germs in the mouth. It also contains substances that help teeth stay strong and healthy. When the flow is reduced, teeth may start de-mineralization, which weakens them and leads to cavities. However, you can maintain a healthy oral environment while using your inhalers.

Steps Toward Oral Health

Inhalers are necessary for those living with respiratory disease. Fortunately, the oral issues related to inhalation therapy can be mitigated with a few simple steps:

  • Brush and floss at least twice a day. If you use a powder inhaler, brush your teeth after using it.
  • Always rinse your mouth after using your inhaler to prevent thrush from developing. If using mouthwash, make sure it is alcohol-free.
  • Help your mouth stay moist by sipping on water throughout the day. You can also chew sugarless gum or suck on sugarless hard candy to help activate the salivary glands.
  • Reduce your alcohol and caffeine consumption as these can cause mouth dryness.
  • Saliva substitutes can also be used to help maintain moisture in your mouth.

Your dentist in Minneapolis, MN, can provide you with assistance in keeping your mouth healthy. At Crosstown Family Dental, we can advise you on products that will help keep your teeth and gums healthy if you use inhalation therapy. Call today and make that appointment to help relieve dry mouth symptoms and ensure your oral health is uncompromised.

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