Changing seasons are a part of every calendar year, moving from frigid temps and falling snow to bright sunshine and humid air in the span of just a few short months. Warmer weather doesn’t just mean longer days, lighter clothing, and cooler treats, it can also mean an onslaught of seasonal allergies. Once the mercury begins to rise, tree and grass pollen begin floating through the air, creating misery for those who suffer from seasonal allergies.
Not only do pollen and grass create runny noses, itchy eyes, and non-stop sneezing, it can also impact the health of your teeth and gums. The dental experts at Omaha’s most trusted dentist, Today’s Dental, know how seasonal allergies can affect more areas than just your sinuses. Here, we’ll outline ways you can protect your oral health.
Three Ways Seasonal Allergies Impact Your Oral Health
With pollen particles and other seasonal irritants floating through the air, your immune system goes into overdrive to protect your body against these irritants. However, this reaction trickles down to your oral health as well, creating issues such as tooth pain, dry mouth and bad breath.
- Tooth Pain: When your sinuses feel full of pressure and are sensitive to the touch, you know that seasonal allergies have finally invaded your face. Above your mouth are maxillary sinuses, hollow spaces that quickly fill up with mucus once your immune system kicks in against irritants. Once these cavities are full, pressure builds on the roots above your upper molars, triggering sensitivity to hot or cold foods and creating pain that shifts upon sitting or standing.
- Dry Mouth: What do you do when your nose is stuffy? You’re forced to breathe through your mouth, which can lead to severe dryness. Antihistamines, which are often used to treat seasonal allergies, also list “dry mouth” as a side effect. Since saliva is needed to wash away harmful bacteria, a dry mouth creates a perfect breeding ground for cavities and other oral health issues.
- Bad Breath: Post-nasal drip, a side-effect of seasonal allergies, can irritate your throat and also cause bad breath. Combined with the bacteria buildup from a dry mouth, bad breath is an indication that harmful microbes have invaded your mouth.
What Can You Do to Improve Oral Health During Allergy Season?
Seasonal allergies are nothing to sneeze at! There are several ways that you can take care of your oral health during allergy season. The team at Today’s Dental recommend the following steps:
- Stay Hydrated: This can help your mouth retain moisture and avoid dryness, while also washing away harmful bacteria.
- Gargle with Salt Water: In a glass of warm water, dissolve a tablespoon of table salt to create an oral health booster. The key here is to swish and gargle the salt water around your mouth (without swallowing it) until the glass is gone. This will help draw draw mucous out of your sinuses, which reduces pressure and allows you to breathe more easily out of your nose. A bonus? It also feels incredibly soothing if your mouth or throat are irritated.
- Keep Brushing and Flossing: Continue to brush and floss twice a day. Just because your mouth is dry doesn’t mean that you should skip your daily oral health maintenance.
- Treat Your Allergies: Consult with your primary doctor to see what medications or over-the-counter treatments are available to treat your seasonal allergies.
Don’t just say, “Achoo!”– ask yourself, “What can I do?”. Schedule your next teeth cleaning appointment at Today’s Dental, and speak with our superior dental staff to see how you can take charge of your oral health during this sneezing season.