Many people suffer from seasonal allergies, but did you realise these can affect oral health? If you have allergies, let us know during your next dental checkup so we can discuss the possible impact on your oral health and how best to reduce this risk. When someone has seasonal allergies, we can adjust our recommended preventative dental care plan to help keep teeth and gums in great shape throughout allergy season.
Seasonal allergies can affect dental health in several different ways. An allergy triggers an immune response resulting in extra mucus production, which can cause tooth pain, dry mouth and bad breath.
Your sinuses are just above your upper teeth, on either side of your nose and should normally be filled with air. When you have a stuffy nose caused by allergies, your sinuses can become filled with mucus triggered by allergens. As the sinuses fill with mucus, they can place pressure on your tooth roots. The pressure can cause tooth sensitivity, or your teeth may feel painful.
Usually, taking antihistamines can help reduce sinus pressure, eliminating tooth pain. However, if your teeth continue to feel painful, please come and see us as soon as you can. Any form of dental pain is often an indication that something is wrong, and the sooner we can diagnose and treat any issues, the more quickly we can get rid of dental pain.
Seasonal allergies can frequently cause dry mouth, not least because it is easier to breathe through your mouth when you have a blocked nose. However, breathing through your mouth can soon cause it to become dry and uncomfortable, and a lack of saliva can increase the risk of dental problems, including tooth decay and gum disease. The problem can be worsened by taking antihistamines, as dry mouth is frequently a side effect of these medications.
Various strategies can help to increase saliva production, such as frequently sipping on water, so you remain well hydrated and chewing sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva production. Sucking on sugar-free sweets can have a similar effect. Try to avoid foods and drinks that can make your mouth drier such as alcohol and caffeinated beverages, or anything very salty and spicy.
We can prescribe a saliva substitute if needed and give advice about how to care for your mouth during allergy season, for example, having your teeth cleaned professionally more frequently to remove harmful bacteria that could otherwise increase the risk of gum disease and tooth decay. Fluoridated dental products such as toothpaste and mouthwash will help protect your dental health.
Saliva helps to keep your mouth fresh and clean, so if you cannot produce enough saliva and begin to breathe through your mouth, you may find you develop bad breath. Some cases of bad breath are also caused by postnasal drip at the back of the throat. One way to help freshen your breath is to gargle using a warm salt water rinse that will help to fight and kill odour-causing bacteria.