Asthmatic Youth Have a Greater Caries Risk

Children and adolescents with asthma tend to suffer more often from caries and gingivitis than people of similar age without asthma, concluded Ms. Malin Stensson in her thesis presented at the Sahlgrenska Academy. The study had examined people in the age groups of 3, 6, 12 to 16, and 18 to 24 years, with and without asthma. The children with asthma had a greater tendency to breathe through the mouth, resulting in dry mouth, and were often given sugary beverages. This may have contributed to their developing higher caries prevalence, explained Ms. Stensson, a dental hygienist and researcher at the Department of Cariology, Institute of Odontology at the Sahlgrenska Academy. “One factor that may have influenced the development of caries is somewhat lower level of saliva secretion, which was probably caused by the medication taken by those with asthma,” said Ms. Stensson. The study is reliable because the groups are homogenous with respect to age and area of residence, and specialists have accurately diagnosed the participants with asthma. The longitudinal of one of the studies gives extra strength to the results. Ms. Stensson emphasized how important it is that young people with asthma receive extra dental care early, and that a preventive oral health program be established between the healthcare and the dental care systems.

(Source: ScienceDaily, January 11, 2011)