Asthma and cavities both common in kids but not linked

Sep 16, 2010

There is no apparent link between asthma and tooth decay, according to a study published in the September 2010 issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association.

"Is There a Relationship between and Dental Caries?: A Critical Review of the Literature" examined the 27 separate studies which looked for a link between asthma and that were reported in 29 papers published between 1976 and March 2010.

"The notion that there is a link between asthma and tooth decay may have its origin in anecdotal statements by emergency room workers who see children with poorly managed asthma. These children could also be more likely to have poorly managed dental conditions, and therefore tooth decay. It's reasonable to believe that poor clinical management may be associated with both conditions, not the asthma that is causing the cavities," said Gerardo Maupomé, B.D.S., M.Sc., Ph.D., professor of preventive and community dentistry at the Indiana University School of Dentistry and a Regenstrief Institute affiliated scientist, who is the first author of the new JADA study.

"We found little evidence to suggest that asthma causes tooth decay. In fact, the two largest studies we reviewed found that children with asthma appear to have fewer cavities than others. This may be because their parents are used to taking them to health-care providers, and routinely bring them to the dentist," said Dr. Maupomé.

The large number of variables involved, including severity of asthma symptoms and the variety of types of treatment for the disease, has made it difficult to unequivocally determine whether there is a causal link between the two.

While not apparently associated, tooth decay and asthma are the two most prevalent chronic childhood diseases in the United States.

Routine home and professional dental care are critical for all children. Parents of children with asthma do not need to be concerned about an increased risk of but Dr. Maupomé points out that children who use nebulizers to control their asthma may be inadvertently increasing their frequency of exposure to sugars because these nebulizers use fructose to deliver therapy. The frequency and the amount of certain sugars consumed are major factors leading to cavities.

He also recommends that children who are mouth breathers or who have mouth dryness be checked periodically by their dentists. These conditions may be associated with asthma but they are also found in who do not have asthma. Many medications used for the long term (such as asthma medications) have been found to reduce the amount of saliva, which is the first protection of teeth.

Explore further: Cochrane Review of RDT for diagnosis of drug resistant TB

Provided by Indiana University School of Medicine

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Wheezing and asthma in young children

Oct 07, 2008

The diagnosis of asthma in a young child may well be more challenging to pediatricians than previously appreciated, according to a review of research and clinical experience literature by Howard Eigen, M.D., of the Indiana ...

Children's asthma affected by parental expectations

Oct 06, 2008

Asthmatic children whose parents have high expectations for their ability to function normally are less likely to have symptoms than other children dealing with the condition, according to a new study. Children also are more ...

Seeing through tooth decay

Aug 22, 2008

Dental caries afflict at least 90% of the world's population at some time in their lives. Detecting the first signs of this disease, which can be lethal in extreme cases, just got easier thanks to work by researchers in India ...

Recommended for you

Cochrane Review of RDT for diagnosis of drug resistant TB

53 minutes ago

Researchers from the Cochrane Infectious Diseases Group, hosted at LSTM, have conducted an independent review to examine the diagnostic accuracy of the GenoType MTBDRsl assay for the detection of resistance ...

Africans in New York complain of Ebola stigma

4 hours ago

Members of the west African community in New York complained Wednesday that their children were being bullied at school and businesses were losing money because of hysteria over Ebola.

Ebola expert says China at risk, seeks Japan aid

5 hours ago

A scientist who helped to discover the Ebola virus says he is concerned that the disease could spread to China given the large numbers of Chinese workers traveling to and from Africa.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.