Now that it is springtime, seasonal allergies are quickly becoming a troublesome occurrence for many people. Although itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, and a runny nose are the most common symptoms, the truth is that there are far more effects of seasonal allergies that occur within the mouth and throat, negatively impacting an individual’s teeth and gums. In this article, we will discuss the connection between allergies and oral health and what a person can do to avoid serious dental problems while battling pollen, pet dander, and other allergens.
The Truth Behind Allergy Medicines and Their Impact on Oral Health
Throughout the year, plenty of medications found on drug store shelves are designed and marketed to provide relief to the eyes, nose, and throat. But what many people do not realize is many of these products contain ingredients that have a negative impact on teeth and oral soft tissues. Researchers have discovered that many of the problems that develop inside the mouth as a result of allergies (i.e., dry mouth, sore throat, tooth pain, sensitivity, and oral sores) are often attributed to the countless medications sold in stores. Antihistamines designed to treat allergies are known for causing dry mouth, which is a common cause of periodontal disease. When the mouth cannot produce adequate amounts of saliva, bacteria and harmful acids break down tooth enamel and attack gum tissue, resulting in tooth decay and gum disease.
Lozenges and syrups aimed to combat sore throat caused by post-nasal drip often contain high amounts of sugar. As a result, when consumed to minimize the pain associated with a sore throat, the sugars adhere to teeth, causing a breakdown of enamel over time. This can lead to cavity formations and more serious tooth pain that will require restorative treatment (i.e., dental filling, crown, root canal) to fix.
Ways to Maintain Good Oral Health During Allergy Season
Seasonal allergies can affect each person differently. While some may only suffer symptoms for a few days, others find themselves battling the effects of seasonal allergies for weeks or months. This is why it is important to be mindful of which medications should be taken as well as practicing good oral habits at home to avoid more serious dental problems in the future.
A few tips we recommend that can safeguard smiles and help treat symptoms caused by seasonal allergies include:
- Drinking plenty of water to remain hydrated and ensure salivary glands continue to work at an optimal level
- Use a humidifier to keep the air moist and reduce chances of dry mouth (especially since a stuffy nose can result in mouth breathing at night)
- Buy sugar-free lozenges and cough syrups to avoid the potential for tooth decay and gum disease
- Continue to brush, floss, and rinse regularly to remove harmful bacteria and food particles each morning and night
- Eat a balanced diet of nutritious foods (i.e., leafy greens, lean proteins, low-fat dairy, fruits, vegetables) to maintain a healthy immune system
About the McCarl Dental Group
The McCarl Dental Group consists of four dental experts who are committed to helping patients living in Millersville, Greenbelt, and the surrounding areas achieve their smile goals. Providing exceptional preventive dentistry services to stop oral health problems before they start, our team is here to minimize and eliminate signs of tooth decay, gum disease, and other common dental issues. We’re also available to provide tips and recommendations to help individuals combat seasonal allergies and other bothersome conditions that can have a negative impact on teeth and gums. If you’re looking for a trusted dental group near you, call our dental office today.