Asthma sufferers have been found to be at a much higher risk of developing gum disease, according to the findings of an innovative new piece of research.
The study, which looked at a selection of 21 papers published between 1979 and 20171, analysed the relationship between asthma and oral health, with the most recent results from 2017 confirming that people with asthma were almost one fifth (18.8%) more likely to suffer from periodontitis2.
In response, leading charity, the Oral Health Foundation is encouraging asthma sufferers to ensure they pay close attention to their oral health in order reduce their risk of developing gum disease.
Speaking on this important new research, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation said: "We have known for some time that there are close links between oral health and systemic disease, such as heart disease and diabetes. This new study is hugely significant as it could help many millions of asthma sufferers from having to deal with further significant health problems.
"The good news is that avoiding gum disease can be as simple as brushing your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, using interdental brushes daily and regular visits to the dentist. While gum disease can be treated very effectively, the best approach is certainly prevention and making sure we do not fall foul of it at all.
"When not caught and treated early enough gum disease can lead to tooth loss and further oral health complications.
"We are encouraging anybody who suffers from asthma to be especially alert to the early signs of gum disease; which include red inflamed gums, bleeding when brushing your teeth and persistent bad breath, and ensure that you visit your dentist as soon as possible to get checked out and avoid any further problems.
"We welcome more research on this topic, as a greater understanding could be a game-changer in stopping asthma suffers also developing gum disease."
The findings, published in the journal of ‘Journal of Periodontology', illustrate a close link between the two diseases and suggest that there is huge potential for millions more people to develop gum disease in the UK, gum disease is already one of the biggest non-communicable diseases (NCD) globally.
According to Asthma UK, 5.4 million people in the UK are currently receiving treatment for asthma3. The UK has some of the highest rates of asthma across Europe.
Anybody wishing to find out more about their oral health, or suffering asthma and feel they may have symptoms of gum disease, can contact the Oral Health Foundation's Dental Helpline.
The Dental Helpline is staff by fully-qualified dental professionals and gives free, impartial and expert advice on all matters pertaining to oral health.
You can either telephone the Dental Helpline on 01788 539 780 or email their advisors at firstname.lastname@example.org. Open Monday-Friday, 09:00-17:00.