Did you know that seasonal allergies can affect your overall oral health? Seasonal allergies are notorious for causing congestion, headaches and itchy, watery eyes. Allergies can even make your sleep apnea symptoms worsen. To alleviate these symptoms, you may opt to take a decongestant that’s been specifically formulated for allergies. Unfortunately, decongestants can cause dry mouth along with increased breathing through your mouth, which can increase your risk for tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease.
Other oral health problems caused by seasonal allergies include:
· Facial pain
· Tooth pain
· Bad breath
Now, let’s take a thorough look at each one, starting with facial pain and tooth pain.
Sinuses that are severely clogged with mucus can cause facial pain and tooth pain. This is because the increased pressure in your sinuses can also affect the nerves to your teeth. To alleviate the pressure, you may decide to take a decongestant. However, if you still experience tooth pain after your sinuses have cleared, this is an indication that you may have a cavity and need dental treatment.
Seasonal allergies can cause symptoms of dry mouth. This is primarily due to taking decongestants, as we stated above. These medications reduce inflammation and swelling in the mucous membranes and decrease the amount of mucus produced. This can affect all mucous membranes, even the ones in your mouth.
Individuals who are congested also tend to breathe through their mouths. The combination of breathing through the mouth and taking a decongestant can cause severe symptoms of dry mouth. This is because there is less saliva and the air you are breathing in through your mouth causes it to dry out even faster.
Saliva is essential for good oral health. It bathes your teeth in minerals, which helps restore enamel, and it keeps your gums hydrated. Reduced saliva in the mouth can allow bacteria to flourish, which can increase your risk for cavities and gum disease.
Postnasal drip combined with breathing through the mouth can lead to bad breath and a mildly sore throat. Controlling the post nasal drip and minimizing breathing through the mouth can help alleviate bad breath and an irritated, dry throat.
Seasonal allergies can contribute to an increase in sleep apnea symptoms. This is due to the inflammation of the mucous membranes in your sinuses, nose, and throat. The result is restricted airway passages and increased difficulty with breathing while asleep. You may even notice that you snore louder, especially if you do not use a CPAP or another form of sleep apnea therapy. This can result in feeling tired during the day, experiencing memory loss and having increased acid reflux symptoms. And if the acid in your stomach reaches your mouth, it can harm your teeth. You’re also at an increased risk for diabetes, high blood pressure and depression, which can all affect your overall oral health.
If the thought of a CPAP machine scares you, consider an oral appliance instead. Our dentists at Matthews Family Dentistry offer oral appliances that can help keep your airways open while you sleep without having to wear an uncomfortable and intrusive mask. These appliances are authorized for use by individuals who have mild to moderate sleep apnea.
To schedule an appointment with our dentist at Matthews Family Dentistry for a checkup, teeth cleaning and help with sleep apnea, give us a call at 704-708-9185.