Today is World Oral Health Day and the first day of Spring… it’s a happy time in the world of dentistry! But, if you’ve been feeling less “spring chicken” and more “spring fever” (literally) as a result of the changing seasons, you’re not alone. According to the ACCAI, more than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies. Symptoms can include intense headaches and fever, congestion and/or runny nose, itchy, watery eyes, and oral discomfort in varying forms.
The effects of allergies are a prime example of how oral health and your overall health are intrinsically connected.
Do a quick gut check- do you experience any of the following this time of year?
Our maxillary sinuses reside in the root tips of our upper molars, an unfortunately sensitive area. Therefore, pain in upper teeth is often attributable to allergies that affect sinuses. The pressure you can feel throughout the whole top half of your face is actually a result of your body producing more mucus than regular, which is intended to flush out the allergens. The pressure can become so intense, that it eventually hits the root tips in your teeth, which will cause the same symptoms as a tooth infection. Even if you do suffer allergies, it’s a good idea to consult with a dentist to rule out actual tooth infection.
Remember all that extra mucus your body is producing to flush out allergies? In addition to causing pressure that leads to tooth aches, it can also create a postnasal drip, which bothers the throat. This postnasal drip can be accompanied by coughing, inflammation, and itchiness in the back of the oral cavity.
Many allergy sufferers suffer from dry mouth when symptoms flare. This particular symptom of allergies is particularly worrying since the lack of saliva can leave your teeth especially susceptible to gingivitis, and cavity-causing, bad breath breeding bacteria. The best way to avoid dry mouth due to allergies (or allergy medications) is to stay hydrated with pure liquids, ideally water.
In observance of World Oral Health Day, we encourage you to seek the help of a dentist if any of the above symptoms are experienced. We want to make sure your suffering is the result of a temporary, seasonal issue and NOT an underlying, long-term oral disease (which can manifest itself in many of the same ways as allergies).