Doctor D’s Blog
Ah, spring! I love this season – the colors, the energy, birds are singing, sun shining stronger, all my neighbours start cleaning their decks and barbecues and flowers are blooming everywhere…
Right – BLOOMING.
I am one of the lucky ones that can fully appreciate the blooming flowers without a runny nose and watering eyes (my allergies come in the fall) but for many of us spring is the season of allergies. This may come as a surprise but allergies do matter when it comes to your dental health!
Allergies, asthma, rhinitis – they all lead to mouth breathing and consequently dry mouth, bleeding gums, using medications that alters the saliva composition – changing its flow rate, electrolyte concentration and inflammatory components – leading to cavities. Most of the medications are acidic and lower your saliva pH which may lead to ” bad bacteria” growth. In fact studies have shown that for children and adults who have asthma the risk for developing tooth decay is more then doubled !
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There are however steps we can take to help lower that risk. Here are some of them:
1. Review best practices for inhaler use.
These inhaled medications have been shown to decrease the saliva flow or cause short term dry mouth. You should immediately rinse your mouth with water and spit after using the inhaler. You can also use a spacer or tube to inhale the medication more directly into the airway, avoiding the tongue. Chewing sugar-free gum helps to bring your mouth pH to the normal after inhaler use.
2. Address dry mouth.
That is a hard one especially at night time but a glass of water by your bed and maintaining an optimal humidity in your bedroom should help. Using a xylitol spray helps to alleviate the symptoms of dry mouth and it can be used right after using a nasal spray or an inhaler when the mouth might be the driest. You can also try Basic Bites – sugar free chewy that actually helps to prevent cavities and is gluten free.
3. Use xylitol nasal spray and sea salt sinus rinse.
Postnasal drip is one of the common complaints from patients that have seasonal allergies. Postnasal drip often combines with saliva. Xylitol solution has been shown to have anti-cavity effect by decreasing the “bad bacteria” and increasing the growth of commensal bacteria.
4. Use alcohol -free mouthwash.
5. Kick dehydrating habits.
Avoid caffeine, limit alcohol use, stop smoking!
6. Maintain excellent oral hygiene with daily brushing and flossing.
Wishing you all a beautiful spring!
Dr. de Angelis