Can Severe Seasonal Allergies Affect Your Smile?
Are you affected by seasonal allergies? Did you know they can affect your overall oral health? Seasonal allergies are known for causing congestion and headaches, along with itchy, watery eyes. Seasonal allergies can also worsen sleep apnea symptoms.
To alleviate the symptoms of seasonal allergies, you may choose medications designed explicitly for seasonal allergy congestion. Unfortunately, decongestants can lead to dry mouth as you sleep. These medications can lead to an increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
Other possible oral health issues that seasonal allergies can cause include:
- Facial pain
- Tooth pain
- Chronic Bad breath (Halitosis)
What Causes Seasonal Allergies?
Trees and grass pollinate in the spring and fall seasons, leaving substances in the air that may irritate your upper respiratory tract. Ragweed, dust mites, mold, and more can trigger an immune system response that includes coughing and nasal congestion symptoms. Not only do these symptoms affect your breathing and comfort, but they can have severe consequences for your smile.
Possible Oral Health Issues Of Seasonal Allergies
Facial Pain and Tooth Pain
Sinuses that are clogged due to seasonal allergies can cause facial and tooth pain. This is due to the increased pressure in your sinuses which will also affect the nerves of your teeth. Decongestant medications can help alleviate this pressure and pain. It is crucial to monitor the pain to ensure it is not an actual toothache or dental issue. If pain persists after congestion clears, see your dentist immediately.
Seasonal allergies can lead to the development of a dry mouth. The main reason for this is typically due to taking decongestant medications. These medications work by reducing inflammation and swelling in the mucous membranes and decreasing the production of mucous.
Individuals with seasonal allergies and congestion also tend to breathe through their mouths. The combination of mouth breathing and taking a decongestant can cause severe symptoms of dry mouth. This dry mouth is due to decreased salivary flow, and the mouth breathing dries your mouth even more.
Saliva is essential for good oral health maintenance. Saliva washes your teeth in minerals, which helps remineralize enamel, and keeps your oral tissues hydrated. A reduction in saliva in the mouth can allow bacteria to increase, leading to a possible increase in the risk for tooth decay and periodontal disease.
Bad Breath (Halitosis)
Postnasal drip combined with mouth breathing can lead to bad breath and a possible sore throat. Controlling the post nasal drip and minimizing mouth breathing can help alleviate bad breath and a dry, sore throat.
Worsening Sleep Apnea Symptoms Due To Seasonal Allergies
Seasonal allergies can contribute to a worsening of sleep apnea symptoms. This is caused by the increased inflammation of the mucous membranes in your sinuses, nose, and throat. Restricted airway passages and increased difficulty with breathing will be the result.
Sleeping interruptions can result in feeling tired during the day, experiencing memory loss, and having increased symptoms of acid reflux. If the acids in your stomach enters your mouth, it can harm your teeth. You are also at an increased risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, and depression.
Marielaina Perrone DDS offers sleep apnea oral appliances that can help keep your airways open while you sleep without having to use a CPAP machine. These specially designed sleep apnea appliances are for use by those who have mild to moderate sleep apnea.
Common Sleep Apnea Treatments Include:
1. Oral Appliance Therapy
Including mouthguards and nightguards. TAP appliance (Thornton Adjustable Positioner). The TAP holds the lower jaw in a forward position so that it does not fall open at night and cause the airway to collapse. It can maintain a clear airway to reduce snoring and improve breathing. We feel this gives the patient the best option for success.
The unique design allows patients to fine-tune their treatment at home and work with the dentist to achieve the best possible results.
Patients are empowered to manage the degree of lower jaw protrusion over as many nights as it takes to achieve the optimal treatment position. The TAP has a single point of central adjustment, which prevents uneven bilateral adjustment that can create an irregular bite and discomfort. The TAP has over a 95% success rate. It is the key to a snore-free, restful night of sleep.
This appliance also treats sleep apnea without the need for surgery, a mask, or medication.
2. Use Of A CPAP (continuous positive air pressure) Machine
3. Surgery For Severe Cases
Tips for Protecting Your Smile With Seasonal Allergies
There are a few things you can do to relieve your seasonal allergy symptoms while also keeping your smile healthy:
- Take antihistamines – Taking prescribed or over-the-counter allergy medications can alleviate your symptoms and prevent oral health problems.
- Keep hydrated – Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stimulate saliva production and rinse food debris and bacteria from the mouth.
- Gargle with saltwater – Let a tablespoon of salt dissolved in a glass of warm water. Gargling with the solution will reduce irritation in your mouth and throat. The rinse will also draw mucus out of your sinuses.
- Brush and floss – Keeping your teeth clean will minimize the risk of bacteria accumulating on your teeth and gums.
- Get A Sleep Apnea Evaluation – Speak to your dentist on a possible sleep apnea dental appliance (TAP appliance)
- Contact your dentist – Make sure you visit your dentist twice a year for a routine examination and professional cleaning.
To schedule an appointment with Marielaina Perrone DDS for an examination, professional teeth cleaning, and possible help with sleep apnea, give us a call at 702-458-2929.