According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, as many as 50 million Americans suffer from allergies every year. Are you one of these 50 million Americans affected by allergies? If so, have you told your dentist? Although you may think that your seasonal allergies are of no concern to your dentist, this is not the case. In fact, since allergies can affect your oral health in a variety of ways, you should always tell your dentist if you have seasonal allergies. Let’s take a look at some of the various ways your seasonal allergies can affect your oral health:
Can Cause Tooth Pain
Some types of tooth pain are not actually tooth pain at all, rather they are caused by pressure buildup in the maxillary sinuses. The maxillary sinuses are the largest sinus cavities in your face and they just happen to be located directly above your upper teeth. During allergy season, pollen and dust cause your immune system to respond by filling your sinuses with mucus. This can result in pain and pressure that can push down on your tooth roots, giving the illusion of tooth pain. In some cases, you may even experience tooth sensitivity. Discussing your seasonal allergies with your dentist can help them to determine if sinus pressure is the cause of your toothache or if there is another problem causing the pain.
Causes Dry Mouth
Seasonal allergies can indirectly cause dry mouth by encouraging you to breathe through your mouth due to a stuffed up nose. Unfortunately, antihistamines used to alleviate allergy symptoms can also cause dry mouth as a side effect. This means that if you suffer from seasonal allergies, you are more likely to experience chronic dry mouth in coordination with your allergies. Besides being annoying, dry mouth also increases the risk of developing tooth decay and gum disease. This is because saliva is the body’s natural defense mechanism against excess bacteria in the mouth. However when saliva production is reduced, it becomes harder for the mouth to regulate bacterial levels.
Causes Bad Breath
As a result of having a dry mouth, you may also start to experience bad breath from the bacteria in your mouth. However, another cause of bad breath from seasonal allergies is the postnasal drip that causes irritation in the throat. Unfortunately, bad breath due to a sore throat is tough to eliminate since it originates in the throat and brushing doesn’t tend to do much for the odor.
How to reduce oral health problems due to seasonal allergies:
To alleviate seasonal allergy symptoms, it is important to take an antihistamine for your symptoms. However, since antihistamines lead to dry mouth and bad breath, it is also helpful to take a few additional steps to deal with these side effects. For starters, you will want to increase saliva production in any way possible. Some easy ways to do this are to drink water frequently, eat foods that increase salivary flow, and chewing on gum with Xylitol to produce excess saliva. In some cases, your dentist may also recommend a spray to increase moisture as well. To address bad breath caused by postnasal drip, you can also gargle with warm salt water to reduce the amount of bacteria in your throat.
Dr. Sadati possesses extensive experience in all aspects of advanced restorative dentistry, with an emphasis in cosmetic and implant dentistry. He has attained Accredited Fellow status in the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), the most rigorous, demanding credentialing process in the world. He is the only AACD Accredited Fellow in South Florida.