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Allergies and Dental Health

May 21, 2016

Allergy season is still in full swing and due to our mild winter it seems to be more intense than usual. Your dental health may not be the first thing on your mind, but a case of hay fever can make an impact on your teeth and gums. See below how you can prevent oral discomfort that is associated with allergies.

Tooth Pain

Sinus pain is a common reaction to pollen, dust and other allergens. The hollow spaces in your head fills up with mucus, and all this pressure can cause aches and pains in your face.  The maxillary sinuses, the largest sinuses in your face are located above your upper teeth.  When pressure builds in sinuses, it can push down on the roots of your upper molars. You may experience sensitivity to cold or notice pain that intensifies when you lower your head or lie down. Antihistamines and decongestives may cause relief.  If your toothache goes away after taking an antihistamine, the pain is likely allergy-related.  If the symptoms do not improve, it’s wise to schedule an appointment to see your dentist.

Dry Mouth

Allergies can cause dry mouth in couple of ways. First, you are more likely to breathe through your mouth when your nose is stuffy.  Second, many antihistamines have dry mouth as a side effect.  This condition, in addition to being uncomfortable, increases your chances 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.

Sore Throat

An irritated sore throat is a common result of allergies, caused by postnasal drip. Postnasal drip can also cause bad breath, and since it occurs in the throat, just brushing your teeth won’t do much to help.

Follow these tips to keep your dental health in check during allergy season:

  1. Stay Hydrated: 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.
  2. Gargle with Salt Water (not recommended if you have high blood pressure). Dissolve a tablespoon of salt in a glass of warm water.  Gargle and spit until all the water is gone 3-4 times per day.  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.
  3. 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 are experiencing dry mouth so make sure you are brushing and flossing twice per day. Also, consider adding a non-alcoholic mouth rinse to your regiment, such as Biotin Rinse or Listerine Zero.
  4. 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 and immunotherapy.
  5. Talk to Your Dentist:  Continue going to scheduled dental appointments.   If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity, mention it to your dentist.  Your dentist can help you figure out if the sensitivity is allergy-related or caused by other problems.


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