The medications in your child's inhalers could be the culprits behind his or her dental problems. Although your child's inhalers help him or her breathe better when the symptoms of asthma show up, the inhalers can dry out the moisture in your child's mouth if he or she uses them regularly. The medications used in inhalers contain bronchodilators, which are medications used to open up blocked air passages in the lungs. A family dentist can repair the problems in your child's mouth by cleaning away plaque and bacteria from your little one's teeth and gums. But you can also protect your child's mouth at home. Here's what you need to know about asthma medications and your child's mouth, as well as what to do to stop oral problems.

How Does Your Child's Asthma Medications Affect the Mouth?

As the medications in inhalers pass through the back of the mouth, they dry out the moisture produced by your child's saliva glands. It's the lack of saliva in the mouth that creates recurrent cavities, as well as periodontal disease and bad breath. Your child may develop a sulfur-like scent in his or her mouth as bacteria grow in the back of the throat, on the tongue, and on the soft and hard palates.

You may notice dark spots on your little one's molars, as well as redness and swelling in his or her gums. These problems may indicate the first signs of tooth decay and gum disease.

The dentist fixes the problems above with:

  • White tooth fillings and fluoride treatments to strengthen your child's enamel
  • Gum cleanings to remove the extra plaque and bacteria that build up along the gumline
  • Special mouth rinses to increase the moisture in your child's mouth over time.

If possible, the dentist may work directly with your child's pediatric physician to help manage his or her asthma. This may include changing the strength of the inhaler's medications to improve his or her oral health. In addition, you can serve more hydrating fluids and foods to your child at home.

How to Keep Your Child Hydrated?

The amount of fluids your child consumes depends on his or her sex and age. For instance, if your little one is 4 years old and female, she should drink at least four 8-ounce cups of water each day. But not all kids like the taste of water. If this is the case with your little one, try adding juicy fruits like pears to his or her daily meals.

Pears, such as Starkrimson and Asian, contain a high water content in the pulp that stimulate the saliva glands to make more fluids in the mouth. The skin of pears slides between each tooth to help remove plaque and bacteria, which improve the health of your child's gums.

You may choose to serve pears at least three times a week to help hydrate your little one's mouth. However, avoid adding whipped toppings or honey to the fruit. These items counteract the nutritional and dental benefits of pears by introducing artificial sugars in the mouth.  

Turning the pears into a nutritious beverage can be another great way to hydrate your child when he or she uses his or her inhalers regularly. Here's what you do:

  • Place one or two ripe pears into a blender
  • Add 1 cup of water and ½ cup of plain yogurt to the blender
  • Purify and blend the contents until they liquefy

The fresh pear juice not only tastes great, it may replace one or two cups of your child's daily liquid requirements a day.

If you need additional help with managing your child's asthma or dental care, contact your family dental provider at a site like for an appointment.