Seasonal Allergies & Oral Health: Are they connected?
Spring is finally in the air! Most of us are happy to put the long winter behind us and
shed the coats and gloves for longer days spent outside. With the blossoming of flowers, trees and fields of green, we are also faced the dreaded allergy season. Some of us may be okay with the tradeoff but either way, we should be aware of how seasonal allergies can affect our dental health. That’s right, I said dental health.
Allergies can cause the following issues:
1. Tooth Pain
2. Dry Mouth
3. Irritated/Itchy Throat
Read further to see how you you can determine whether you have an allergy problem or should schedule an appointment with your dentist.
Our sinuses, the maxillary sinuses in particular, are located just above the
mouth. When allergies are in full swing, mucus builds in the hollow spaces of your head and the extra pressure in your sinuses can push down on the roots of your teeth. Specifically, the upper molars. Symptoms of this may include sensitivity to hot/cold or pain that may vary as you sit, stand or lie down.
If you have these symptoms along with sinus pressure, itchy or watery eyes, you may want to try taking an antihistamine. If the tooth pain is relieved by the antihistamine, the pain is likely related to allergies. If not, it is best to schedule an appointment with your dentist, since the tooth pain may be related to tooth decay.
Allergy season brings with it stuffy noses that will force you to breathe through your mouth which can cause dry mouth. Additionally, if you opt to take an antihistamine, one of the side effects may also be dry mouth. Since saliva helps to clean away harmful bacteria, dry mouth creates an opportunity for bacteria to grow and cavities to develop. It’s important to stay hydrated if you are experiencing dry mouth. Also, you need to make sure you brush twice a day and floss at least once a day.
Seasonal allergies can cause itchy/sore throats which is due to post nasal drip. This in turn can cause bad breath that originates from your throat vs. your mouth. Try gargling with salt water along with treating the allergies. Salt water can help to draw the mucus out of your sinuses.
If you continue to experience any tooth pain or oral issues, it is important to call your dentist right away to ensure there are no serious problems.