August 5, 2021
Fall is right around the corner, and if you’re like most people, the changes in temperature and outdoor allergens can leave you with a runny nose, scratchy throat, and watery eyes. While your medicine cabinet may already be stocked with the essentials to get you through this time of year, it’s important that you understand how seasonal allergies and dental health are connected. The medicines you take can negatively impact your teeth and gums, so before you reach for those throat lozenges or cough syrup, find out what you can do to better protect your smile while fighting off your cold.
Oral Health Problems That Arise From Seasonal Allergies
If you’re curious as to how your sinuses can create problems for your teeth and gums, you’ll be surprised to learn there are several ways, some of which you’ve probably experienced in the past:
- Dry Mouth: When your nasal passage is blocked because of sinus congestion, you’re often left breathing through your mouth while you sleep. As a result, not only may your throat feel sore, but it’s possible you will develop a dry mouth. If saliva is not producing, bad bacteria can form and cause halitosis (bad breath) as well as tooth decay and gum disease.
- Tooth Pain: If you’ve ever developed serious tooth pain while battling sinus and allergy congestion, you’re not alone. Because your maxillary sinuses sit above your upper teeth, they can often become inflamed, resulting in intense pressure being placed on your tooth roots. It’s also possible that sensitivity might occur as well.
- Sore Throat: When dealing with a runny nose, you’re often also experiencing post-nasal drip. As it irritates your throat, it becomes sore over time, making it difficult to swallow. You may also develop bad breath.
How to Treat Seasonal Allergies and Safeguard Your Smile
Even when you don’t feel your best, it’s important that you take special precautions to keep your teeth and gums safe from any potential damage or decay. This is why you’ll need to stay on top of your oral hygiene routine. Brushing, flossing, and rinsing regularly is key to preventing bad bacteria from building and spreading throughout your mouth, causing tooth decay and gum disease. You’ll also need to:
- Drink plenty of water to avoid dry mouth and keep your salivary glands working properly.
- Look for sugar-free allergy medications when shopping. Cough syrups, throat lozenges, and other solutions can contain lots of sugar, which will only put you at risk for dental decay and cavities.
- Use warm salt water to encourage quicker healing, as this mixture can help to relieve symptoms and reduce bacteria inside your mouth.
- Continue to see your dentist for your six-month dental checkups and cleanings.
As you navigate the upcoming fall season, make sure you’re prepared with the right medications. Choosing healthier solutions, drinking plenty of fluids, and keeping up with your oral hygiene will ensure you make it through allergy season without negatively impacting your dental health.
About the Author
Dr. Gary Rosenfeld completed his doctorate at Columbia University Dental School in 1984 before completing a General Practice Residency at Sea View Hospital on Staten Island. Dr. Rosenfeld and his team at East Islip Dental Care want to help you achieve optimal oral health, which means providing insightful tips and information to help you get through allergy season. Because many problems can arise as a result of sinus congestion, Dr. Rosenfeld can offer healthy solutions that will treat your cold and safeguard your smile. If you need tips to curb your seasonal allergies, visit our website or call (631) 581-8600.
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