SPRING IS IN THE AIR…and that means so are allergies. Seasonal allergies affect millions of people every year, but did you know that they can also affect oral health?
Why Do We Get Seasonal Allergies?
While there are plenty of allergens that can make us sneeze year round, such as dust and pet dander, seasonal allergies typically flare up twice a year: in the spring and the fall. This can mean long months of congestion, an itchy nose, mouth, eyes, or throat, puffy eyes, sneezing, and coughing for people with allergies.
The reason our allergies act up the most during spring and fall is that trees and grass pollinate throughout the spring, while ragweed pollinates in the fall. Mold will also send out spores around the same time. Allergic reactions, including seasonal allergies, are the result of our immune systems going into overdrive in response to these allergens.
2018 Allergy Season in New England
In some parts of the country, allergy prescriptions are reportedly already on the rise this year and the 2018 allergy season has been meteorologically dubbed, ‘Pollengeddon’ with experts attributing a wet and chilly spring as the cause for anticipated higher than average pollen counts and more allergies as the weather warms up.
Dr. Maria Castells, an allergist and immunologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, says residents in the Boston area who experience seasonal allergies should expect a “severe year.” Read the full article.
Using the Allergy Tracker at weather.com, you can get specific daily and long range forecasts for your town and even personalize your allergy reports with which pollen affects you the most.
Allergies Versus Oral Health
While allergies can result in symptoms ranging from tooth pain or sensitivity related to sinus pressure and sore throat to tingly or swollen lips, mouth, tongue and irritated gums, the most common way seasonal allergies can become a problem for oral health is dry mouth. Whenever we have congestion, we end up breathing through our mouths instead of our noses, which dries up our saliva. Having dry mouth presents a serious threat to oral health, because saliva is the mouth’s first line of defense against gum disease and tooth decay.
Prevention And Treatment
Because many allergens are airborne, avoiding allergic reactions can be difficult, but there are a few things you can do. It’s best to stay indoors on extra windy days when the most allergens are in the air. You should also wear a pollen mask while doing yard work, and avoid using window fans that could blow pollen and spores into your house.
If you do end up having an allergy attack, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and chew sugar-free gum to stimulate your salivary glands, and keep up your daily brushing and flossing routine. Make sure you also take the anti-allergy medications your doctor or allergist recommends to minimize your congestion.
Fighting Back Against Allergies Together!
If you’re experiencing any new symptoms in your mouth, whether as a side-effect of seasonal allergies or for any other reason, don’t hesitate to come see us! Your oral health is our top priority, and together we can come up with a plan to keep your mouth healthy until the allergies end and beyond!