Seasonal allergies can negatively affect oral health by causing a sore throat, dry mouth and tooth pain.
Below, we’ll take a look at where allergies come from, how they affect our teeth and what you can do to protect your oral health from allergies this season.
Where Do Allergies Come From?
Allergens can be found in a number of places, and each place varies by season. Here is a quick look at a few allergens that can be found in Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter.
For a more in-depth look at allergens within each season, check out Everyday Health’s month-by-month guide to allergies.
How Do Allergies Affect Teeth?
As mentioned above, allergies can negatively affect teeth. Here are three oral health problems you may experience with your allergies and how they’re caused.
If you’ve ever had sinus pain from allergies or a cold, you are familiar with the pressure it causes in your cheeks, nose and head. The large sinuses in your face, also known as the maxillary sinuses, are located above your mouth, so when pressure builds up in these areas, it can push down on the roots of your upper teeth, causing pain.
Allergies and colds are usually accompanied by a runny or stuffy nose. As a result, mucus builds up not only in the nose, but in the back of the nose and in the throat. This is called postnasal drip. When it accumulates in the throat, it can cause a sore throat.
When you’re sick with allergies or a cold, breathing through your nose is probably the last thing you’re able to do. As such, breathing through the mouth becomes your only alternative. Mouth-breathing can quickly cause dry mouth, which can further lead to cavities, gum disease and bad breath.
More Serious Problems
While allergies can be the culprit to these oral health issues, they also may be covering up more severe dental problems like gum disease, tooth decay and infections. Be sure to let your dentist know that you are suffering from allergies and have him/her diagnose the problem.
7 Ways to Protect Your Oral Health from Allergies
While this information is certainly helpful to know, there are some ways to protect your oral health with this information at the forefront of your mind.
- Drink Plenty of Water. Staying hydrated can counteract the effects of dry mouth and flush away the excess mucus from your nose and throat.
- Continue Oral Health Habits. Brushing and flossing your teeth is still very important, even when you’re sick. Doing so can also help fight against dry mouth.
- Gargle Salt Water. Make a glass of warm water and dissolve some salt in it. Gargle and spit out the water until it is all gone. This will help draw out the mucus in your sinuses.
- Stay Inside at Peak Pollen Times. Usually the local weather report includes pollen counts in their report. Pay close attention to this and avoid going outside at peak pollen times, which is usually late morning or midday. This will offer you some allergy relief.
- Keep Your Vents Clean. Particularly during the fall and winter months, consider cleaning out your heating vents and changing the filter before turning it on. This will help get rid of any mold or other allergens that have gotten caught in the vents.
- Visit Your Dentist. As much as you don’t want to visit the dentist when your nose is stuffy and runny, if you’re experiencing tooth pain, talk to your dentist about it at your appointment. Your dentist can help identify if the toothache is allergy-related or not.
- Treat Your Allergies. The most important and most effective way to protect your oral health is to control and treat your allergies to reduce any impact they might have on your mouth. Prescription medication and allergy shots are two possible treatment options to get rid of allergies quickly. Some other options include:
- Steroid nasal sprays
Protecting your oral health from allergies might just protect you from the allergens themselves. Don’t let the misery of seasonal allergies damage your oral health.