Asthmatic Patients and Oral Disease

Is there a direct link between people who suffer from asthma and certain types of oral disease? Are people with asthma more susceptible to these oral diseases than people who don’t have asthma? Up until recent, there hasn’t been sufficient evidence to demonstrate the effects of asthma on oral health. That’s why scientists at Shiraz University School of Medical Sciences sought to elaborate on this field. Their study investigated and compared the oral manifestations of asthmatic patients and non-asthmatic patients.

The study was conducted with the use of a study group that was composed of 100 asthmatic patients and 100 healthy, aged matched, control patients. The age range of the asthmatic patients was between 12 and 83 years old. For results consistency, the researchers wanted to exclude as many variables as possible that could potentially influence the outcome of the study. For this reason, the controlled group was strictly comprised of healthy individuals who didn’t present a systemic disease, didn’t consume drugs or alcohol, and weren’t tobacco smokers.

The subjects all underwent two examinations; one for the presence of oral caries and the other for the presence of oral lesions. All subjects were examined by two dentists and an oral medicine specialists re-examined each case. The examiners sought for the presence and degree of dental caries within the oral cavity. The examiners used standard that have been approved by the World Health Organization (WHO). This included the use of dental instruments such as probes, dental mirrors and proper light. The degree and state of the caries was indicated as either Decayed, Missing or Filled Teeth (DMFT). The presence of oral lesions were tested as well. The asthmatic patients presented a thorough history of their condition including type of breathing, current and past medications, duration of medicinal treatment, and duration of the disease.

Through the use of dental instruments and documentation, the results of both examinations demonstrated that asthmatic patients are at a higher risk of developing various types or oral lesions than non-asthmatics. The results also showed that there was no significant difference in DMFT scored between both groups. The presence of caries among both groups was relatively consistent. Additionally, there was no correlation between the severity of the disease, duration of medicinal treatment, and caries prevalence.

The most common oral lesion that was found in asthmatic patients was Chronic Atrophic Candidiasis (CAC). Thirteen percent of asthmatic patients showed the presence of CAC while only two percent of healthy patients showed the presence of CAC. Asthmatic patients also demonstrated the presence of Geographic Tongue at nearly the same prevalence difference of CAC between both groups. Other oral lesions that were found to be in higher prevalence among asthmatic patients were atrophy of tongue papillae, hairy tongue, anterior open bite, and median rhomboid glossitis.

The present study from Shiraz University School of Medical Sciences demonstrates that there is no link between the presence of caries and asthma. The study did confirm that oral lesions such as CAC are more prevalent in asthmatic patients. Dental examinations must continue to indicate and document the presence of caries and oral lesions in asthmatic patients due to the susceptibility of candidiasis infection.

**Fabian Hernandez is a Senior Writer who holds a Master’s degree in Biomedical Sciences. He is also a fiction novelist and is presently publishing a medical research article for Barry University.

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