Cavities have the reputation for being the worst chronic childhood epidemic in the nation. The condition is caused by a myriad of reasons including dental neglect, bad oral hygiene, poor nutrition and even Vitamin D deficiencies in expectant mothers. Recent studies are now linking the dental problem as a side effect for young asthma sufferers.
About the Study
Researchers from the Sahlgrenska Academy (University of Gothenburg, Sweden) released findings of a study determining the correlation between cavities and asthma. Their work studied children aged 3, 6, 12 to 16 and 18 to 24, both with and without asthma. In each comparison group across the board, it was found that asthmatic children had a higher frequency of cavities and gingivitis then their easy-breathing counterparts.
Within the 3 year old group participants, the children with asthma had significantly more dental issues than the control group of non-asthmatics. Upon analyzing the group aged 12-16 years, "Only 1 out of 20 in the asthma group was [dental] caries free, while 13 out of 20 were caries free in the control group," (MedicalNewsToday.com). A similar pattern was also detected in study participants aged 18 to 24.
The Asthma/Cavities Relationship
Asthma is a common chronic inflammatory disease of the airways. Individuals afflicted with the condition often struggle to breath freely and may experience symptoms including shortness of breath, chest pressure, wheezing and coughing. While struggling to get enough oxygen into the system, children may automatically start breathing through their mouths as opposed to nasal breathing. The side effects caused by mouth breathing are suspected of contributing to the asthma/dental cavities relationship.
Human beings have two orifices dedicated to breathing, the nose and the mouth. Nasal breathing is the preferred method as the process warms and moistens the air entering the body while providing an automatic filtration system. While mouth breathing will certainly do the trick of getting oxygen into the human body, the process will do nothing to pre-treat the air. Additionally, mouth breathing can lead to dental problems. Additionally, parents of asthmatic children may mistakenly provide their kids with sugary beverages as a way to moisten their mouths. Oral bacteria will thrive on the sugar left behind. As the bacteria feast on that sucrose, the by-product produced is the acid that causes tooth decay.