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No Evidence That Asthma Leads to Tooth Decay: Study

Last Updated: September 17, 2010.

In some studies, children with asthma even found to have fewer cavities, researchers say.

FRIDAY, Sept. 17 (HealthDay News) -- There's no link between asthma and tooth decay in children, according to a new analysis of studies on the issue.

The findings challenge some previous research suggesting that children with asthma may be more likely to develop cavities.

For this new study, researchers analyzed 27 studies in papers published between 1976 and March 2010.

"We found little evidence to suggest that asthma causes tooth decay. In fact, the two largest studies we reviewed found that children with asthma appear to have fewer cavities than others. This may be because their parents are used to taking them to health-care providers, and routinely bring them to the dentist," study author Gerardo Maupome, a professor of preventive and community dentistry at the Indiana University School of Dentistry, said in a university news release.

The study appears in the September issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association.

"The notion that there is a link between asthma and tooth decay may have its origin in anecdotal statements by emergency room workers who see children with poorly managed asthma. These children could also be more likely to have poorly managed dental conditions, and therefore tooth decay," Maupome said. "It's reasonable to believe that poor clinical management may be associated with both conditions, not the asthma that is causing the cavities."

Asthma and tooth decay are the two most common chronic childhood diseases in the United States.

More information

The Nemours Foundation offers tips for keeping children's teeth healthy.

SOURCE: Indiana University, news release, Sept. 16, 2010.

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