Seasonal allergies and your teeth

After a winter that looked like it was never going to end, spring has finally arrived in Southeast Missouri.

The flowers are blooming, trees are blossoming, the grass is looking greener and many of us are coughing, sneezing and carrying tissues around like a fashion accessory thanks to seasonal allergies.

For many people, seasonal allergies also mean tooth pain, dry mouth and sore throat which can have an impact on your teeth and gums. If this sounds familiar, here are a few things to look out for and how to protect your mouth.

The problem: Tooth Pain
What causes it: As your body tries to fight all of the pollen and dust in the air, it creates mucus, which fills your head and causes all of the aches and pains you feel in your face. The pressure created by the sinuses filling with mucus builds to a certain point; it pushes down on your teeth causing additional pain.
What can you do: Try an antihistamine. If that works, your pain is sinus-related. If not, then you need to talk to your dentist.

The problem: Sore throat
What causes it: Postnasal drip
What can you do: Mix a saltwater cocktail with a tablespoon of salt in a glass of warm water and then gargle and spit until all of the water is gone. This can help draw the mucus out and reduce harmful bacteria in your throat.

The problem: Dry mouth
What causes it: Increased breathing through your mouth due to stuffed up noses and side effects from certain medications especially antihistamines. Unfortunately, this one isn’t just uncomfortable; it also increases the risk of cavities, bad breath, and gum disease.
What can you do: Stay hydrated and keep brushing and flossing.