With allergy season in full swing, your dental health may not be the first thing you think of. But a case of hay fever can make an impact on your teeth and gums. Check out what to look out for and see how you can protect your mouth!
Sinus pain is a common reaction to pollen and dust. The hollow spaces in your head fill up with mucus, causing aches and pains in your face. The maxillary sinuses, the largest sinuses in your face, are located above your mouth. When pressure builds in these sinuses, it can push down on the roots of your upper molars. You may experience sensitivity to hot and cold or notice pain that shifts as you sit, stand or lie down. Antihistamines may cause sinus relief. If your toothache goes away after taking an antihistamine, the pain is likely allergy-related. If the symptoms don’t go away or occur in places other than just the upper molars, schedule an appointment to see your dentist.
Allergies can cause dry mouth in two ways. First, you are more likely to breathe through your mouth when your nose is stuffy. Second, many antihistamines include dry mouth as a side effect. This condition, in addition to being uncomfortable, increases your changes of developing cavities, gum disease, and bad breath. One of the main functions of saliva is to wash away harmful bacteria. A dry mouth is the perfect place for cavity-causing bacteria to multiply.
An irritated sore throat is a common result of allergies, caused by postnasal drip. This sore throat can cause bad breath, but since it originates in the throat, brushing your teeth won’t do much to help.
What To Do
Follow these tips to keep your dental health in check during allergy season:
Drink lots of water to keep your mouth and body hydrated. Not only can this counteract the side effects of dry mouth, it can also help your body flush away the excess mucus.
Gargle with Salt Water
Dissolve a tablespoon of salt in a glass of warm water. 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.
Keep Brushing and Flossing
An allergy attack is no excuse to slack on your oral health routine. Regular brushing and flossing are especially important when you’re expecting dry mouth so make sure you are brushing and flossing at least once (but twice is recommended) each day.
Treat Your Allergies
Controlling your allergies can help reduce their impact on your mouth. Avoid known triggers and talk to your doctor about long-term treatment options, such as prescription medication or allergy shots.
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.