Asthma sufferers who find themselves wheezing and coughing might look to their toothpaste as a possible cause of their problems, two doctors said last week. An artificial mint flavoring found in a brand of toothpaste made from an opaque paste instead of a gel apparently triggered breathing problems in a 21-year-old woman with a history of asthma, according to a letter published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Then, she switched toothpastes. She had been using Crest Tartar Control toothpaste, "but when she switched to a gel-based toothpaste her wheezing resolved dramatically," wrote Drs. Bruce Spurlock and Thomas Dailey of Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Santa Clara, Calif.