Asthma is a serious global health problem that has steadily increased in prevalence during the past two decades. New classification and treatment guidelines have been published, and dental providers need to be aware of these changes.
The authors searched textbooks and MEDLINE, looking for the most updated medical information on asthma, as well as for previous publications on treatment of asthmatic patients in a dental setting.
More than 9,000 articles on asthma were published in English between 1997 and 2000. From 1960 until 2000, approximately 40 articles specifically addressed asthma and dental care. The authors reviewed more than 300 articles from the medical literature and all articles after 1980 that directly focused on oral health issues for importance and relevance.
Recent information regarding the etiology, pathogenesis and treatment of asthma had not been adequately addressed in the dental literature. Dental care of asthmatic patients may necessitate considerations beyond what has previously been published in the dental literature.
In the treatment of asthma, as with treatment of most medical conditions, oral health care providers play a role that is important in terms of both the patient's overall health and the systemic condition's effect on oral health. This article provides dentists with a timely update on asthma and the relationship between asthma and oral health, and it offers suggestions for safe and appropriate dental care.