Seemingly nothing is as frustrating or inconvenient as seasonal allergies. Whether your body responds to pollen, dander, or dust, it can leave you with a stuffy nose, watery eyes, headache, and general fatigue. Did you know, though, that it can also impact your oral health? Many patients are surprised to learn that their teeth and gums can be negatively affected, too. You likely don’t want to develop any issues that land you in the dentist’s office this year. Instead, read on to learn about 3 ways that allergens can harm your smile and what you can do to protect it!
Concern #1: Toothache
When your body has an allergic reaction, the hollow sinus cavities in your head fill with mucus which causes aches in your face and skull. Unfortunately, the largest ones (maxillary sinuses) are situated above your teeth and mouth. As they become more congested, the pressure buildup can push down on the roots of your upper molars. This can lead to toothaches or sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures. You might even notice a pain in your head that shifts when you sit, stand, or lie down.
Often, antihistamines can relieve these symptoms by drying up excess fluids. Alternatively, you can try nasal irrigation to rinse away the blockages. This can be done with neti pots or squeeze bottles designed to push saline water in one nostril and then out the other.
Concern #2: Dry Mouth
When your nose is too stuffy to breathe through smoothly, you’ll find yourself inhaling and exhaling through an open mouth. This allows moisture to evaporate which can harm your teeth. Saliva is your body’s natural defense against harmful, cavity-causing bacteria. It disinfects your mouth and helps remove unwanted particles. Without it, microbes can flourish and begin to erode your enamel.
To make matters worse, many allergy medications also contribute to dry mouth. You can combat it by drinking plenty of water to keep your body hydrated. Many patients also find it helpful to use sugar-free cough drops or throat lozenges to stimulate saliva production.
Concern #3: Sore Throat
All that postnasal drip sliding down the back of your mouth can cause a hoarse voice and a sore throat as well as bad breath. Fortunately, there’s a simple at-home remedy that can help. Saltwater is a fantastic way to draw mucus out of your sinuses, reduce swelling, and alleviate discomfort. Try making a solution with a tablespoon of salt mixed into a glass of warm water, then gargle and spit it out sip by sip until there’s none left.
Now you know how to keep your smile safe during allergy season this year!
About the Author
Though Dr. J.D. Robison finds joy in helping patients resolve dental problems, his goal is to enhance your oral health, so you don’t develop them in the first place. He studied at Purdue University, the University of Michigan, and the University of Detroit Mercy. He also has completed the core curriculum at the prestigious Dawson Center for Advanced Dental Studies. That means he’s an expert who can help with a wide range of issues. If your allergies have injured your grin, you’re welcome to request an appointment on the website or by calling (734) 453-6320.