Long-Term Use of Asthma Control Medications May Be Associated With Tooth Wear

Asthma inhaler and medicine, pills
Asthma inhaler and medicine, pills
Long-term use of asthma control medication may be associated with tooth wear.

Long-term use of asthma control medication may be associated with tooth wear, according to a study published in the Journal of Asthma.

The data of 2186 adolescents and young adults from the 2003 to 2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey were examined. Self-administered questionnaires were used to identify patients who had asthma and those who were taking long-term asthma control medications.

Medications included in this study were inhaled corticosteroids, long-acting β-agonists, and leukotriene modifiers. The number of surfaces with tooth wear, the study’s primary outcome, was determined during clinical examinations.

In this cohort, 1068 participants (58%) had tooth wear, and 232 (10.3%) had asthma, and 61 (2.9%) were taking long-term medications for asthma. Tooth wear was observed in 58% of participants (average, 6.1 tooth surfaces in those with tooth wear).

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No association was established between asthma and tooth wear in an adjusted regression analysis. The use of long-term asthma control medication was found to be associated with greater odds of having tooth wear (odds ratio, 3.33; 95% CI, 1.24-8.97; P <.05), but not with the number of surfaces with tooth wear (rate ratio, 1.01; 95% CI, 0.58-1.75).

Limitations of the study include its cross-sectional nature, and the reliance on self-reports for the identification of asthma diagnoses and medication use.

“Dental professionals should be aware of a possible association between asthma medication and tooth wear and should look for evidence of tooth wear among patients [with asthma] under long-term control medications,” concluded the study authors.


Goswami U, O’Toole S, Bernabé E. Asthma, long-term asthma control medication and tooth wear in American adolescents and young adults [published online April 2, 2020]. J Asthma. doi: 10.1080/02770903.2020.1745228