Oh, spring, how we love you. Oh, seasonal allergies, how we detest you. Itchiness, watery eyes, runny nose – the symptoms of allergies are frustrating and exhausting. And, as it turns out, allergies aren’t only wreaking havoc on your respiratory system and energy levels, they have a negative affect on your oral health too. If you have concerns about your oral health in the middle of allergy season, visit a holistic dentist who is invested in maintaining your overall health and well-being, not just the good health of your teeth.
Where There Is Allergy Medicine, There Is Dry Mouth
That allergy medicine that seems to work miracles in taming the sneezing and coughing? It comes with a price. While antihistamines may be amazing when it comes to subduing allergy attacks, the meds are not without side effects, particularly dry mouth.
You may feel that a dry mouth is a small inconvenience for a reprieve from your allergy affliction, but saliva plays an incredibly important part in maintaining good oral health. Saliva’s job is to keep your mouth moist and help you digest your food, but it’s also tasked with washing away food particles and plaque from your teeth. Without enough saliva to go around, your teeth are susceptible to the damage that a build-up of bacteria and plaque can cause, including cavities, bad breath, and, eventually, if left unaddressed for too long, gingivitis.
If your allergy medicine is causing dry mouth, it’s important to discuss this side effect with your doctor and your dentist to see what you can do to combat the dryness and keep your mouth healthy while still keeping allergies at bay. In the meantime, drink plenty of water to keep your mouth hydrated and chew on sugarless gum with xylitol to help stimulate saliva production. Neither of these techniques take care of the problem, but they can help until a solution is found.
Sore Throats Are Never Good
Is it a cold? Is it allergies? Many common colds begin with a sore throat, but sometimes allergies present this way too. Postnasal drip – caused by inflammation and an increase of mucus in the nasal cavities – is often the source of a sore throat, coughing, irritation, or that swollen feeling in your throat.
You can address the soreness and difficulty swallowing by nursing yourself with tonics like tea with honey, but for an on-the-go remedy many people turn to cough drops or a piece of hard candy. The cough drops may soothe the ache and the candy is a distraction from the pain of the sore throat. Unfortunately, constantly nursing a piece of sugary candy is a recipe for breeding cavities. Your teeth will be constantly exposed to plaque and, ultimately, your sore throat could turn into tooth decay and require non-mercury fillings.
The best way to fight a sore throat due to allergies is by addressing sinus pressure, the real root of your allergy and oral health problems.
Living with Sad Sinuses
If you are an allergy sufferer, you usually know the difference between cold symptoms and flat-out allergy misery. Your immune system is on the defense when seasonal allergies hit, and your sinus pockets located in your face are lined with sensitive mucous membranes that become inflamed.
It’s when the sinus pressure begins to impact your oral health that you have a compound problem. The swelling in your maxillary sinuses in particular – which are located in the maxillary bone above the upper molars – puts pressure on your tooth roots. The aches and pains are unpleasant, at best, and antihistamines can help relieve the discomfort, but then of course you’re back to square one if the allergy meds are causing dry mouth.
Is It Really Allergies?
Of course, it’s important to visit your dentist when you experience any sort of tooth pain or oral health complication – even if you’re certain it’s caused by allergies. The symptoms could be indicative of a cavity that has yet to fully erupt or a broken tooth or a deeper problem. Only your dentist can tell you for certain.
Don’t let allergy season ruin a beautiful spring, or good oral health. Schedule your personal consultation with Dr. Yolanda Cintron at Fort Lauderdale’s International Center for Dental Excellence to discuss any discomfort or tooth problems you may be experiencing.