Going to the dentist isn't any fun, but it is one of those things that just has to be done. For years, I fought the process and didn't go for my regular cleanings and in the end, it sure didn't pay to do so. I ended up spending ten times as much time in the chair and a boat-load of money in dental repairs. If you don't like going to the dentist, you can make it easier on yourself. This blog will show you a few tips that can help you improve the experience and get through the treatment without as much discomfort.
Asthma is a respiratory condition that can make it hard for you to breathe, but your lungs aren't the only part of your body that are affected by the condition. Asthma is associated with a variety of oral health complications, including xerostomia, also known as dry mouth. Here are four things asthmatics need to know about xerostomia.
How does asthma cause xerostomia?
There are two main causes of xerostomia in people with asthma. First, many people with asthma breathe through their mouths instead of their noses, and this mouth breathing can reduce your salivary flow and make your mouth feel dry.
Second, xerostomia can be a side effect of the drugs used to treat asthma. If you're using a corticosteroid inhaler to control your asthma, the medication can lead to decreased salivary flow, resulting in xerostomia.
What are the signs of xerostomia?
Xerostomia causes many symptoms. The main symptom is dryness inside the mouth, and you may feel like you're always thirsty and need to drink a lot of water to remain comfortable. The small amount of saliva you do have will be thicker than normal, and may appear stringy instead of watery. If you wear lipstick, you may notice that your lipstick is sticking to your teeth often, even if you haven't changed your makeup application methods.
Is xerostomia serious?
Xerostomia may seem like it's just a nuisance, but this condition can actually have a serious impact on your oral health. This is because saliva plays a number of important roles inside your mouth, and without enough saliva, many problems can occur.
One of saliva's important functions is maintaining the acid level inside your mouth. Your saliva acts to keep your mouth within 6.2 and 7.4 pH, which is a fairly neutral level. This protects your teeth from the acidic foods you eat and helps to keep your enamel from being dissolved by acids. If your enamel dissolves, you'll experience problems like yellowed teeth, sensitive teeth, or even tooth decay. Enamel doesn't grow back, so protecting it is important.
Saliva also contains multiple antibacterial agents, like lactoferrin and peroxidase. These agents help to keep bacteria inside your mouth under control. Without enough saliva, the bacteria inside your mouth get the upper hand, and may be able to colonize your gum tissue, leading to gum infections like gingivitis.
Your saliva also helps to control other pathogens, like fungi. If you suffer from xerostomia, you have a higher risk of developing oral fungal infections like oral candidiasis, which is also known as oral thrush.
How is xerostomia managed?
Your dentist may recommend using a spacer to administer your inhaled medication, if you're not already using one. Spacers are plastic tubes that are used in conjunction with inhalers to ensure that more of your medication gets to your lungs, where it belongs. These devices have a mouthpiece at once end and a place to insert your inhaler at the other end. If you use a spacer, you'll reduce the oral side effects associated with inhaler use.
In addition to recommending a spacer, your dentist can teach you strategies to manage your symptoms. There are many simple home remedies that will keep your mouth moist and help to prevent the side effects of xerostomia. Here are a few things your dentist may recommend:
If you have asthma and notice that your mouth feels uncomfortably dry, see a dentist like Schererville Family Dentistry, PC right away.