Effect of inhalers on children's oral health

Respiratory diseases such as bronchiolitis, asthma and bronchitis are more common among the youngest children, especially those under 2 years of age. This is due to the fact that their airways are smaller, which causes them to become obstructed more easily.

These respiratory conditions or infections are usually treated with inhalers, as this mechanism facilitates the arrival of the drug to the affected organs, either with bronchodilators, corticoids or anti-inflammatory drugs, of which up to 3 or 4 applications per day are usually indicated.

But you probably already knew all this. What you probably don't know, however, is that it can affect the oral health of young children.

They usually indicate up to 3-4 applications per day.

But did you know that they can affect your teeth?

Consequences of the use of inhalers on oral health

 Dry mouth (Xerostomia)

This type of medication reduces salivary flow, as well as lowering the pH, which leaves the saliva very acidic. In addition, children with these conditions tend to tend to mouth-breathe as their airways are obstructed and swollen, so they cannot breathe nasally, which dries out their mouths even more.

 Tooth erosion and caries

This medication introduced through inhalers is deposited directly on the front teeth, especially on the upper teeth. This is in addition to the fact that the reduction in saliva and the acidic pH that has been generated - as we have seen in the previous point - creates conditions that are prone to the appearance of caries. In addition, to make it easier for children to take, many of these drugs are either acidic or contain added sugars that facilitate inhalation.

This situation leads to a loss of mineralisation of the enamel, which becomes very porous and erodes. This leaves a very fragile tooth, susceptible to very aggressive caries and which gives the impression of causing the total disappearance of the tooth at an incredibly fast rate.


These processes to which we have referred do not only affect the dentition itself, but also have repercussions on the soft tissues of our mouth, causing an alteration of the oral mucosa, which can lead to the appearance of canker sores and facilitate the growth of fungi in the mouth, increasing the possibility of oral candidiasis.

How can we prevent this and help their teeth?

  1. Rinsing with water after taking inhalers. If the child is very young and does not yet know how to rinse, water can be given directly to the child to drink.
  2. Brush their teeth after 30 minutes. This is a very important point, because if we do it immediately, we will remove the particles that are deposited - as if they were grains of salt - which can further erode the tooth, as if they were 'exfoliating' it. In addition, the lip should be lifted to remove all the plaque and debris that remains in the gum area.
  3. Force them to maintain a good diet, avoiding cariogenic foods such as sugars, juices or sugary drinks, especially if they drink them through a straw, as these will have a particular impact on the simple area.
  4. They should maintain good hygiene, which, we remind you, consists of: brushing their teeth two or three times a day with 1000 ppm fluoride toothpaste to remineralise in children under 6 years of age and 1450 ppm in children over 6 years of age, not forgetting to brush their tongues to eliminate bacteria and bad smells, as well as using a dental arch.
  5. Dental check-ups at the paediatric dentist as soon as the first milk tooth appears. There are fairly simple remineralising treatments for before a major loss of structure occurs.