Asthma inhalers may cause thrush, bad breath
SUMMARY: Although inhaled corticosteroids can be a lifesaver, they may leave you with a case of yeasty halitosis.
Posted: August 15, 2012
While bad breath is certainly not the most dangerous symptom of asthma, it's definitely one of the more disagreeable side effects of the condition. It might not seem like asthma would cause oral odor, but it does - and in more than one way.
That's why, for people who suffer from asthma attacks, an alcohol-free mouthwash and an oral care probiotics rinse are two indispensable tools for eliminating halitosis.
The rise of asthma, hay fever and halitosis
Since it was first recognized it as a condition centuries ago, asthma has been one of the more serious respiratory problems on Earth. It is connected to hay fever, in that (a) both appear in attacks caused by allergens, and (b) the presence of one increases the risk of the other.
Currently, about 25 million people in the U.S. suffer from asthma, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
What causes it? It's an inherited disorder, in which the passageways of the lungs swell and get narrower in response to allergens or irritation. This leads to wheezing, coughing and difficulty breathing, an array of symptoms that usually forces people with asthma to use inhaled corticosteroids to soothe the inflammation.
This, though, is where bad breath can become a problem.
Asthma causes odor in three ways
1. First and foremost, asthma inhalers may cause thrush, which is an oral yeast infection. This is because corticosteroids - the active ingredients in asthma medication - are mild immunosuppressants. This means that any mist that lands on the tongue can pave the way for bacterial growth, allowing halitosis to arise. And plenty of your corticosteroid spray lands on the tongue - between 70 and 90 percent, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
2. Second, asthma often occurs alongside hay fever, a nasal allergy that triggers sneezing and a watery nose. The latter problem - also known as post-nasal drip - causes thin mucus to run down the back of the throat, leading to more bad breath.
3. Finally, the aggravated wheezing caused by asthma can dry out the mouth, making oral odor more likely.
In the case of an asthma attack, it is more important to use an inhaler than an alcohol-free mouthwash! But otherwise, folks with this respiratory condition can gargle with specialty rinses twice a day to minimize bad breath.