Flowers are blooming, crops are growing and being harvested, grass is being cut… Which means it’s everyone’s favorite time of year again, allergy season! In addition to the scratchy throats, runny noses, itchy eyes, and other assorted discomforts that plague those with allergies, some of you may be experiencing what appears to be a random toothache. Unfortunately, it isn’t random. Your allergies can actually cause toothaches.
Why do allergies sometimes cause toothaches?
There are four pairs of sinus cavities in our face, the frontal, maxillary, sphenoid, and ethmoid sinuses. Allergies can affect all of these. If your toothache is allergy-related, it will most likely be an upper molar. The most common culprit is pressure. Our facial sinuses have to drain upward. Then that drainage will run down the back of the throat. This is called a post-nasal drip, and is why your throat gets scratchy. When your sinuses become blocked, you get congested. That congestion creates sinus pressure, which builds up and inflames your upper molars. This can cause a variety of symptoms, including:
- Aching teeth
- Increased sensitivity to heat
- Increased sensitivity to cold
- Difficulty chewing
It’s important to see a dentist as a precaution any time you have a toothache. If no other issues are found and allergies are determined to be the cause of your tooth pain, then it’s often easily taken care of. An over-the-counter decongestant or antihistamine (in pill or nasal spray form) should alleviate your symptoms. Talk to your pharmacist about your symptoms and they’ll recommend the appropriate medication, especially if you’ve tried several different drugs that haven’t worked.
I treated my allergies but my tooth still hurts
So you took an antihistamine or decongestant to take care of the sinus pressure, but you’re still experiencing some oral discomfort? Most likely, you’re now experiencing one of the most common side-effects of allergy medication – mouth dryness. Saliva is very important to our oral health. It’s full of enzymes that are antibacterial. These enzymes protect our teeth from decay, and prevent bad breath. Saliva also helps to get rid of food particles that are left within our mouth after eating. A dry mouth creates the perfect environment for cavity-causing bacteria to thrive. The solution for this is to simply stay hydrated. Drink lots of water to refresh your mouth and wash out any lingering food particles or bacteria.
If you have a toothache and aren’t sure whether it’s simply allergies or another problem, set up an appointment with Dr. Chauvin’s office today!