If you suffer from seasonal allergies, you know how irritating they can be. Constant sniffling, sneezing, and headaches can take a toll on your mood and ruin your plans. But did you know they may also influence your dental health? Here are some common ways your seasonal allergies can mess with your mouth, and how you can handle them.
Allergy sufferers commonly experience excessive amounts of mucus buildup in their sinuses. The fact that the largest sinuses in your face are directly above your mouth is—you guessed it—bad news for teeth. Pressure in these sinuses can push down on teeth and cause uncomfortable aches. Try taking an antihistamine, like Benadryl, to thin out the mucus buildup and relieve your toothache. If the problem persists, contact your dentist! There may be another, unrelated problem that requires professional attention.
Feel like you’re constantly dealing with a scratchy mouth and throat during allergy season, no matter how much water you drink? Or worse, stuffy nose forcing you to breathe through your mouth? A lack of moisture in your mouth means less saliva to wash away all that bacteria that accumulates in your mouth, which can lead to gum disease and tooth decay.
The best way to counteract dryness? Water! Stay as hydrated as possible while your allergies are acting up, both to help get rid of bacteria in the mouth and to help your body further thin out mucus.
A sore throat is one of the most frustrating seasonal allergy side effects. Usually, it’s caused by post-nasal drip—mucus that drains down the back of the throat from the sinuses—which can also lead to bad breath that can’t be eradicated by brushing. Just like with dryness, upping your H2O intake can help flush out some of that bacteria and freshen your breath. If that doesn’t help as much as you’d like, try a saltwater gargle to kill harmful cultures and do away with excess mucus!
As tempting as it may be, don’t skimp on your usual brushing and flossing just because your allergies have you feeling less than your best. Your mouth will thank you!