Oral health in young adults with long-term, controlled asthma

Acta Odontol Scand. 2011 May;69(3):158-64. doi: 10.3109/00016357.2010.547516. Epub 2011 Jan 13.


Objective: To study oral health in young adults with long-term, controlled asthma.

Material and methods: Twenty 18- to 24-year-olds with a mean duration of asthma of 13.5 [standard deviation (SD) 5.4] years and 20 matched healthy controls were included. A clinical examination was performed and the prevalences of caries, erosions, gingival inflammation, cervicular fluid and periodontal pockets and the plaque formation rate were registered. The salivary flow rate and the numbers of mutans Streptococci and Lactobacilli in saliva were determined. Plaque pH was measured after a sucrose rinse for up to 40 min at two approximal sites. The participants were interviewed regarding dietary and oral hygiene habits.

Results: The mean (SD) DFS, including manifest and initial caries, was 8.6 (10.6) in the asthma group and 4.0 (5.2) in the control group (P = 0.09). Initial caries lesions were more common in the asthma group than in the control group: 6.0 (8.1) and 1.3 (2.0), respectively (P = 0.02). The asthma group had more gingivitis (P = 0.01) and a lower stimulated salivary secretion rate than the controls (P = 0.01). The asthmatics also had a somewhat, although not statistically significant, lower initial pH value in plaque and a more pronounced pH drop compared with the controls. In the asthma group, 65% reported frequent mouthbreathing, compared with 10% of the controls (P = 0.01). No differences were found in tooth-brushing or dietary habits between the groups.

Conclusion: Young adults with long-term, controlled asthma had more initial caries, more gingival inflammation and a lower stimulated salivary secretion rate than individuals without asthma.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Asthma / complications*
  • Asthma / drug therapy
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Dental Caries / etiology*
  • Dental Plaque / chemistry
  • Dry Powder Inhalers
  • Female
  • Gingivitis / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Male
  • Mouth Breathing / etiology
  • Oral Health
  • Oral Hygiene / statistics & numerical data
  • Saliva / metabolism
  • Saliva / microbiology
  • Secretory Rate
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Tooth Erosion / etiology
  • Xerostomia / complications
  • Xerostomia / etiology*
  • Young Adult


  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents