Dentist visit suggestions for people with MAC or bronchiectasis
For some of us with bronchiectasis, particularly those who also have MAC Lung Disease, going to the dentist can be stressful. Being inverted in a dentist’s chair, having the dental hygienist clean your teeth with an ultrasonic Cavitron spray and then using water from the spit bowl fountain to rinse, can expose us to harmful bacteria as well as cause coughing.
But, if you take some precautions and have good communication with your dental team, it makes all the difference!
Consider doing the following:
✅Clear your airways before your visit.
✅If you have GERD, you might take a few bites of bread before the visit. Carbohydrates will absorb the fluids in your stomach and make reflux less likely. Discuss this recommendation with your doctor.
✅Bring a bottle of spring water to rinse your mouth.
✅Use the dental office bathroom to do a few huff coughs before sitting in the chair.
✅Explain to the dentist and hygienist that you have lung disease. If possible, ask that the chair not be inverted too much. Let them know that if you hold up your finger it means you need to sit up and turn your head away from them to cough. Have tissues ready in your lap.
✅Have the hygienist do a manual cleaning instead of the Cavitron.
✅If you are having a procedure done, ask the dentist to use saline water (they have it for extractions) instead of regular water. Or, perhaps your bottled water.
This is the difficult part–RELAX!! I keep my hands on my belly to remind myself to breathe deeply from my diaphragm.
Good oral hygiene is important for everyone and especially for people with lung disease. There are hundreds of types of oral bacteria –some good, some not so good, and lots we are currently studying because their role is unknown. However, tartar build up and gum disease can be prevented by regular dentist visits.
#bronchiectasis #maclungdisease #ntmlungdisease #oralhygiene
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