For some people, inhalers are a part of everyday life. Maybe you live with a condition like asthma, making the use of a handy medicine dispenser a regular occurrence for you. You’re probably aware of how to care for your inhaler, but what about your oral health? Did you know that you can get oral thrush from inhalers?
Improper inhaler technique can lead to a yeast infection in your mouth, also called “oral thrush” or “oral candidiasis.” Symptoms of a yeast infection in your mouth include things like an unpleasant taste or even the loss of taste altogether, a burning sensation, redness inside and white patches in the mouth.
If you think you might have any of these symptoms, seek out your dentist as soon as possible to prevent the infection from spreading elsewhere. Treatment of the condition is easy, and don’t worry, it’s not contagious.
How Does Using an Inhaler Lead to Oral Thrush?
Your inhaler is used to deliver a corticosteroid into your lungs via air flow through your mouth. While we’d like to imagine all the medicine goes straight to where it’s needed most, it is possible that some gets left behind. A portion of the corticosteroid can remain on your tongue and cheeks or between your teeth.
If the medicine stays in these places for too long, you can develop a yeast infection in your mouth. The good news is that preventing oral thrush from your inhaler is pretty easy.
Here are four things that will help:
Rinse your mouth after using an inhaler
This simple maneuver of sipping water after use can significantly decrease your risk of developing oral thrush. Flush out remaining medicine and clean away any residue left behind. Water cleanses the mouth and stimulates salivation, which helps protect your teeth.
Consider a spacer
Asthma spacers are designed to assist with the application of medicine in two ways. First, they “improve hand-breath coordination,” as many users make errors. Some have trouble limiting their inhalation capacity or not holding their breath for long enough for the medicine to work. The spacer makes this easier. Second, it reduces the amount of medicine deposited into the mouth.
Brush and floss regularly
Know the best way to keep unwanted oral debris, whether food or medicine, from turning into an issue? Routinely brush your teeth twice a day and after meals, and floss once per day. This will ensure that there’s no plaque or other debris left to cause problems.
Visit your dentist
A trip to the dentist is about more than X-rays and cleanings. Your dentist is able to detect other problems like an oral thrush infection or even cancers and other concerning issues. By taking a close look into your mouth during a dental appointment, your dentist can become familiar with your oral health. Routine visits allow them to notice any changes or potentially harmful developments.
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