Spring is here, a season that many people consider to be the most beautiful of all. And it’s no wonder why, since this is the time of year when so many plants come out of their winter dormancy and begin to bud out and blossom. Spring may be beautiful, but for many people it’s also the time of year when allergies are at their peak. If you suffer from springtime allergies, you are no doubt already familiar with the symptoms, including sneezing, congestion and itchy eyes, to name a few. But did you know that allergies can also impact your teeth and gums? What follows are a few common oral health issues that allergy sufferers deal with every spring.
- Toothaches – Most people with seasonal allergies experience sinus issues. Usually, these include sneezing, sniffling and a runny nose. But sinus pressure is also common, and is typically caused by a buildup of mucus in the nasal passages, which in turn causes inflammation and sinus pressure. This can lead to sinus headaches, but that’s not all – sinus congestion can also result in toothaches that are caused by your inflamed sinuses pushing down on the roots of your upper molars. If you experience a toothache that worsens when you change positions – like when you bend over, stand up, or shift positions when lying down – chances are it’s due to sinus congestion. Seasonal allergies can also cause your teeth to be more sensitive to hot and cold food and drinks.
- Dry mouth – When you have allergies that cause sinus congestion, you end up breathing through your mouth – not only when you’re awake, but when you’re asleep as well. This can lead to persistent dry mouth. Taking antihistamines may help to clear out your sinuses, but they only make dry mouth worse. And dry mouth makes you more susceptible to developing tooth decay and gum disease. Fortunately, there are some effective ways to combat dry mouth during allergy season. Drink water more often, and try chewing sugar-free gum to increase saliva production. If you can’t remedy dry mouth on your own, your dentist can help.
- Bad breath – An unfortunate result of seasonal allergies and dry mouth is bad breath. When you’re not producing enough saliva to wash away leftover food particles, bacteria begins to grow inside your mouth. Eventually, that can lead to cavities and gum disease, but the immediate result is bad breath. Try gargling with warm salt water two or three times a day. Salt will help to reduce the buildup of bacteria inside your mouth, which will ultimately leave you with better-smelling breath.
Springtime allergies can produce some oral health challenges. If you can’t resolve these on your own, contact your dentist and schedule an appointment.