Seasonal allergies can affect your mouth
Watch out for the allergy season. You may find yourself sneezing or suffering from itchy, watery eye but here is a reminder that it can impact your teeth and gums as well. Here’s what to look out for and how to protect your mouth as we at dental professionals at Stoma Advanced Dental Care, concern about your oral health.
Sinus pain, pressure and congestion caused by allergies can feel an awful lot like a toothache. The body’s immune reaction to the allergens in your system causes mucus to build up in the sinus cavities, which in turn, causes congestion, pressure and pain. When the maxillary sinuses, which are located just above the roots of the upper molars, are affected it can cause the molars, and sometimes premolars, to be sensitive to cold, biting or chewing, and sometimes even cause a throbbing sensation. The pain flares up as you sit, stand or lie down. Antihistamines can ease the pressure. But the pain may be a symptom of tooth decay. Talk to your dentist to determine whether it’s a result of allergies or decay.
Allergies themselves, along with allergy medications (antihistamine), decongestants, and oral inhalers can make your mouth become extremely dry as a side-effect. Plus, when your nose is stuffy you tend to breathe through your mouth (especially while sleeping). The lack of saliva creates a dry mouth and a breeding ground for harmful bacteria, which can cause bad breath, tooth decay (cavities), gingivitis, and periodontitis.
If you suffer from dry mouth, drink plenty of water to keep your oral tissues moist, and alleviate dryness. Chewing sugar-free gum with xylitol is recommended to encourage saliva production and xylitol is proven to help reduce cavities. There are also oral rinses and other solutions that may alleviate symptoms.
Research indicates that mouth breathing can change the shape of your face and alter appearance. This is especially true for children because they are still growing. When breathing through the mouth, the tongue rests on floor of the mouth, causing cheek muscles to relax onto the upper teeth. This long-term pressure can lead to crooked teeth, dental overbites, as well as palate malformations
Postnasal drip causes an irritated sore throat, a persistent cough and making it hard to sleep at night. The soreness and constant need to clear your throat leads to additional dryness and irritation that eventually contributes to bad breath, but since it originates in the throat, brushing your teeth won’t help.
Tips to keep oral health in check
Stay hydrated. Drink lots of water and warm drinks like herbal tea (to keep both your mouth and body hydrated). Not only can this counteract the effects of dry mouth, it can also help your body flush away the excess mucus.
Gargle with warm salty water relieves your throat and reduces harmful bacteria. Gargle and spit until all the water is gone. The salt can help draw mucus out of your sinuses, relieving your symptoms. It also cuts down on harmful bacteria in your mouth and throat, reducing the effects of bad breath and plaque. For those with high blood pressure, skip the salt. Just warm water is fine.
Keep brushing and flossing is especially important when you’re experiencing dry mouth, so make sure you’re brushing twice and flossing at least once a day.
Treat your allergies. Controlling your allergies can help reduce their impact on your mouth. Talk to your doctor about long-term treatment options.
Talk to your dentist. Continue going to scheduled dental appointments. If you’re experiencing tooth pain, mention it to your dentist. Your dentist can help you figure out whether it’s allergy-related or caused by other problems. Allergies may seem only seasonal, but there could be underlying health conditions that need attention.