Asthma and oral health

Asthma and oral health

The link between asthma and your oral health

Do you have asthma or know someone who does? If so, then it’s important that you are aware of the connection between asthma and oral health. Recent studies have shown that there is a strong correlation between poor oral hygiene and an increased risk of asthma attacks. Poor dental care can lead to inflammation in the airways which can trigger an attack. On top of this, research has found that people with severe forms of asthma tend to suffer from more cavities than those without asthma.

Poor oral hygiene heightens asthma attacks

Poor oral hygiene can lead to inflammation in the airways which can trigger an attack. When bacteria and plaque start to accumulate on the teeth, gums and tongue they can release toxins into the bloodstream that can cause inflammation of the airways. This inflammation makes it more difficult for people with asthma to breathe.

Asthma increases the risk of dry mouth

A dry mouth is a condition in which your body does not produce enough saliva. Asthma can cause an individual to take shallow breaths which results in a decreased production of saliva. Saliva helps to fight against dental plaque, bacteria and acidity levels in the mouth. Without enough saliva, the mouth is more exposed to oral health issues such as cavities and gum disease.

In addition to this, people with asthma may be more likely to have an overgrowth of harmful bacteria in the mouth. This can cause a higher risk of bad breath, cavities, gum disease and other oral health issues.

Effects of asthma medications on your oral health

  • Gingivitis: Asthma medications can often cause gingivitis, which is inflammation of the gum tissue surrounding your teeth. This condition may make your gums more prone to infection and bleeding after brushing or flossing.
  • Cavities: Certain asthma medications can increase the risk of cavities due to decreased saliva production.
  • Mouth sores: Some people who take asthma medication may experience mouth sores. These can range in size and severity, but they are usually painful and can make it difficult to eat or drink.
  • Tooth decay: Long-term use of certain asthma medications can cause tooth decay, as they may reduce the number of minerals in your teeth.
  • Dental erosion: Asthma medications can contribute to changes in your teeth and bone structure. For example, long-term use of steroids may cause changes in the shape of your jawbone or make your teeth more prone to erosion.

Asthma and Dental Anxiety

Don’t let your fear of an Asthma attack stop you from seeing the dentist, or at worst, never at all. If you feel nervous or have dental anxiety, don’t worry. Be open and honest with the dentist to create a treatment plan that addresses your concerns for a comfortable and stress-free appointment. Modern dental clinics have a variety of options for patients to assist with dental anxiety these days.

Protect your oral health

The best way to protect your oral health is to practice good oral hygiene habits. Brush twice a day, floss daily and visit your dentist every 6 months. This will help reduce the risk of developing cavities, gum disease and other oral health issues.

In addition, talking to your doctor about your asthma and its effects on your oral health is an important step in making sure that you are properly managing both conditions. Your doctor may be able to provide advice or prescribe medications to help reduce the risk of developing oral health issues related to asthma. By understanding the connection between asthma and oral health, you can take steps to protect yourself and your loved ones from potential complications.

The highest risk factors for tooth decay in children

The highest risk factors for tooth decay in children

Poor oral care and hygiene can lead to toothache and pain, with child tooth decay being the most prevalent oral condition among Australian children today. Approximately 42% of children aged 5 to 10 years old have experienced tooth cavities. While there are a range of socio-economic factors – including social, economic, cultural and environmental factors – affecting the oral health of Aussie kids, tooth decay is basically caused by accumulations of pathogenic oral bacteria.

The type of oral bacteria that cause tooth decay feed on food residue left on teeth after eating refined carbohydrate sugars and starches. These include soft drinks, dried fruits, candy, cake, cookies, fruit drinks, cereals and sweet breads. Oral bacteria metabolise these carbohydrates and produce bacterial acids. As more bacteria and acid is produced, it combines with saliva to form sticky bacterial plaque which spreads over tooth chewing surfaces and the gum line.

Over time, the bacterial acid damages tooth enamel. Once the bacterial acid penetrates the tooth enamel, it starts to damage the dentine inner layer inside the tooth to cause a cavity.

Risk factors for child tooth decay

The factors that significantly increase the risk of a child experiencing tooth decay include:

  • High levels of pathogenic oral bacteria causing tooth decay, including Streptococcus Mutans (S. Mutans) and Lactobacillus spp., which are present during cavity onset and development.
  • A diet high in sugars and starches, especially sweet drinks.
  • Non-fluoridated home water supply.
  • Poor oral care and hygiene.
  • Reduced saliva flow.
  • Acidic or low pH saliva.

Signs & symptoms of child tooth decay

Keep in mind that children may not even experience any symptoms of tooth decay until a dental visit. So, late detection of tooth decay is also a risk factor. Early signs and symptoms of tooth decay to look out for include:

  • Chalky white spots on tooth enamel show decalcification.
  • Early cavities have a light brown colour.
  • Deepening cavities have a dark brown or black colour.
  • Toothache and pain.
  • Sensitivity to food and temperature.
The best ways to improve your probiotic oral bacteria

The best ways to improve your probiotic oral bacteria

Probiotic Oral Bacteria

Probiotic Oral Bacteria

The best ways to improve your probiotic oral bacteria

Nurturing and enhancing the probiotic bacterial activity in your oral cavity is done similarly as for your gut

When eating high-fibre vegetables, you can nourish your good oral bacteria along with your friendly gut bacteria, further down the track. However, there are slight differences between the needs of your probiotic oral bacteria compared to those of your gut bacteria. Additionally, your oral cavity is a unique microbial environment that is physiologically different from your gut. Improving its blood vessels & nerves, salivary glands, chemical signalling function to the brain and cellular efficiency can enhance oral probiotic flora and lower levels of oral pathogens.

The oral and gut microbiota work together to keep us healthy

Even though the oral and gut microbiotas appear to be separate entities, they work synergistically to nourish our body and protect it from infection and disease. So it’s important to keep in mind that you can’t effectively improve one microbiota without improving the other as well. For example, you might take a daily gut probiotic supplement – but what about the billions of oral pathogens you swallow every day that makes it through the stomach acid barrier and colonise the gut? So, what are the most beneficial ways to boost your probiotic oral bacteria?

Tips to improve your probiotic oral bacteria

You can nurture your probiotic oral bacteria, optimise your oral PH and improve your oral health with the following foods and oral care/lifestyle habits:

  • Eat, chew or drink (with pulp) nitrate-rich high fibre vegetables to maintain and improve the oral microbiome including celery, beetroot, rocket, chard, rhubarb, fennel and oak leaf lettuce.
  • Eat, chew or drink (with pulp) prebiotic high fibre foods that help feed probiotic oral bacteria, including nuts, fruits and seeds.
  • Chew more fibre to create an “oral garden mulch” to feed probiotic bacteria.
  • Use your toothbrush, flosser and tongue scraper to manually remove bacterial plaque – helps keep bacterial numbers between species balanced and in check.
  • Avoid excessive use of anti-microbial mouthwashes since they can harm the oral microbiome, taking out good and bad bacteria. Use mouthwashes with prebiotics that target specific bacteria.
  • Avoid alcohol. Binge drinking can completely disrupt the diversity of your oral microbiome and enable harmful bacteria to flourish.
  • Avoid smoking. It can disrupt saliva flow and dry out the oral cavity.

  • Oral bacteria

    10 health benefits of having a probiotic oral microbiome

    10 health benefits of having a probiotic oral microbiome

    Everybody knows the importance of nurturing probiotic bacteria for good gut health. We consume vast quantities of yoghurt and other probiotic products to ensure our gut microbiome includes a good range of probiotic bacterial species.

    What is the gut microbiome…and microbiota?

    The gut microbiome refers to the curated collection of genomes (genes) identified in all the microorganisms found in a person’s gut. It’s basically a list of germ genes.

    On the other hand, the gut microbiota is a reference to the gut’s microbial ecosystem and the actual microorganisms living in it. Their numbers can vary from 10 trillion to 100 trillion microorganisms at any given time. For example, several hours after a huge Sunday night meal, the microorganism count in your gut skyrockets for good reason.

    Having a well balanced, flourishing gut microbiota benefits your body in a number of ways, including:

    breaks down and converts food into absorbable nutrients for the body’s cell regeneration, energy and hydration needs
    regulation of nutrient absorption
    protection against harmful bacteria by competitive exclusion
    produces essential bio-active compounds, such as a range of B vitamins

    The oral cavity contains the body’s 2nd largest microbiota

    If we move back up the oesophagus to the mouth, you’ll find the location of the body’s second largest microbiota after the gut – the oral cavity. Alas, there is no such public awareness or recognition of the oral microbiota nor the links of its 600-700 species to our oral and general health.

    Where in the oral cavity do they live? Pretty much everywhere, including the teeth, tongue, gumline (gingival sulcus), saliva, hard/soft palates, floor of your mouth, inner cheeks and throat. All these different saliva-coated surfaces combine to provide a unique and varied environment suitable for a wide range of probiotic microbial species.

    10 benefits of a diverse oral microbiome and healthy oral microbiota

    A healthy oral microbiota is an exceptionally complex microbial habitat that contributes to our oral and general health in many ways:

    1. helps to shape and drive a healthy gut microbiome
    2. regulates the saliva’s buffering capacity (for high PH) to neutralise acids in the mouth – the type that cause tooth erosion
    3. reduces numbers of pathogenic acid-producing bacteria via competitive exclusion – decreases the bacterial acid load responsible for tooth decay & cavities
    4. helps prevent gum disease
    5. decreases gum inflammation
    6. initiates digestion and digestive processes
    7. metabolises nitrates into nitrites – a key molecule to reduce blood pressure
    8. prevents plaque
    9. prevents bad breath

    When your oral microbiota is in balance, expect to have good oral health, great digestion and even better nutritional uptake for a healthier mouth and body.

    Unfortunately, eating junk food and excess use of antimicrobial mouthwashes aren’t the best ways to sustain these plant-loving probiotic oral bacteria. On the contrary, we have either starved or wiped them out, acidified our saliva and allowed billions of sugar-loving pathogenic bacteria to take over – wreaking havoc on our teeth, gums, brain and body.

    Is it time for you to replenish and nourish your oral microbiota for better oral health?

    For further infomation, please read more about Oral Pathogen Test

    What are the benefits of good tongue posture?

    What are the benefits of good tongue posture?

    Everyone has knows the benefits of good body posture, but not too many people know about tongue posture. Proper tongue posture is very important to oral development and even one’s face shape.

    Good tongue posture helps correct oral development

    The principles of tongue posture were first identified by English oral researchers in 1966 and is called Orthotropic treatment. This treatment is a tongue muscle technique to correct oral and facial developmental issues in children and adults through proper tongue posture.

    This is possible in adults because the skull sutures that surround the maxilla, the upper jaw bone, don’t actually fuse together until you are in your late 60s or early 70s. This flexibility means that both upper and lower jaws can be moved forward or back simply by maintaining correct tongue posture.

    The tongue also happens to be a large muscle that can exert quite a lot of pressure on the maxilla. This helps widen the dental arch which allows teeth more space to develop and maintain proper alignment.

    How do you achieve good tongue posture?

    To achieve good tongue posture, simply press and rest your tongue on the maxilla or roof of your mouth with your mouth closed, while breathing through your nose, for up to 8 hours a day. The tip of your tongue should be about a centimetre above your front teeth without touching the back of them.

    If you were breast fed as an infant, then you would have pushed your mother’s nipple up against the roof of your mouth. So in a sense, a mother’s breast first trains an infant’s tongue to have good posture from Day 1.

    Avoid having incorrect tongue posture

    The tongue positions that should be avoided are resting it on the bottom of your mouth, tongue thrust and/or pressing against the back of your front teeth.

    The benefits of good tongue posture

    Maintaining the right tongue posture has a number of oral health benefits:

    • improves oral development
    • maintains straighter teeth alignment
    • prevents teeth grinding
    • prevents your tongue flopping backwards
    • prevents snoring and sleep apnoea
    • prevents mouth breathing
    • improves support for your cheekbones and jaw so that they remain prominent with age