If you or someone in your family suffers from allergies, the fall season can produce some challenges not just for your breathing, but also for your mouth and teeth. Both outdoor and inside environments can produce problems that may affect your health and physical comfort. Allergy doctors called them “triggers.”
Dreaded ragweed can make you sneeze, and your eyes water. But did you know environmental allergens can make you feel like you have a toothache? Here’s why. Outdoor allergens like ragweed, pollen and wet mold spores on leaves and grass, as well as indoor allergens like dust mites, mold or mildew, can not only give you a runny nose, sore throat and itchy eyes, but also facial and tooth pain, dry mouth, sensitivity to hot and cold and even bad breath. Seasonal fall allergies can cause clogged sinuses, which are located directly above the roots of your teeth. This may lead to painful pressure in your teeth and face, making you think you have a toothache. This is called referred pain and in many instances, it’s just originating from the sinus.
To help remain more pain-free during allergy season, first and foremost, maintain regular six-month checkups and good daily oral health care; brush teeth twice daily, and floss. If you or a family member suddenly experience persistent pain or discomfort in your teeth, jaw, face or sinuses, see your dentist immediately to make sure you do not have an abscess or tooth infection, cavity or periodontal or gum disease.
If you have no apparent dental concerns, be proactive with regular brushing and flossing, gargle with salt water, use decongestants, nose spray and soothing eye drops, blow your nose often, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, and wash hands frequently. Over the counter antihistamines (Allegra, Claritin or Zyrtec,) non-drowsy decongestants (Claritin-D,) or nose sprays (Afrin) may help some minor discomfort, but don’t overdo the nose spray. Consult your family or allergy doctor to make sure there are no contraindications taking any medications.
And finally, keep your environment as allergy free as possible.
Here’s to a beautiful fall season!