Although asthma medications may bring you a lot of health benefits, they may also come with some side effects that aren't so good. Over time, you may find that your inhaler starts to affect your oral health, causing problems such as dental erosion and decay. Why does your asthma medicine affect your teeth and how can you minimise possible damage?
The Effects of Asthma Medications on Teeth
To stay healthy, your teeth need to be able to deal with the acids and bacteria in your mouth, preventing them from causing damage. Your inhaler may get in the way of this process.
For example, according to the Better Health Channel, the medicines used in asthma inhalers can be quite acidic. While puffing may help keep your asthma at bay, it also introduces excess acids into your mouth. These acids may damage your teeth by eroding their enamel. Over time, you may notice that your teeth become more sensitive and start to lose their protective enamel coating.
If your inhaler leaves you with a dry mouth, you may also become more prone to tooth decay and problems with your gums. Your mouth needs a flow of saliva to keep your mouth clean and healthy. If you're producing less saliva than you should, you don't have optimum protection against the bacteria that may attack your teeth and gums.
How to Manage the Effects of Inhalers on Teeth
While you may not be able to do without your asthma medication, you can take steps to minimise the damage it may cause. For example, it's important to do the following things on a daily basis:
- Brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.
- Floss once a day.
Tip: It's also important to make sure that you have dental check-ups regularly, ideally every six months. This allows your dentist to spot any possible issues quickly rather than leaving them to become a more serious problem.
If you use an asthma inhaler, it's also worth talking to with a dentist from a clinic like DC Dental about what else you can do to minimise negative effects on your teeth. For example, your dentist may recommend the following tips:
- Rinsing your mouth with water after you use your inhaler. This helps remove some of the acids from your teeth.
- Finding ways to increase your saliva flow to help your mouth deal with bacteria. For example, chewing sugar free gum puts more saliva in the mouth.
Warning: Brushing your teeth after using an inhaler is not a good way to combat an acid problem. Once acid gets on your teeth it weakens the enamel; brushing when your teeth are in a weakened state may cause more damage. It's better to wait at least 30 minutes after an acid attack before brushing.