Allergies, Allergy Medicines, and Your Oral Health

If you suffer from allergies, this spring has been challenging. With pollen coating everything in a thick yellow powder and having little rainfall, many people have been miserable this year. Over-the-counter allergy medications have helped millions of people throughout the United States, yet it is vital to understand that many drugs can affect your oral health.

The most common side effects from medications that affect oral health include:

  • Abnormal bleeding
  • Altered taste
  • Cavities
  • Dry mouth
  • Inflammation of the gums
  • Jawbone loss
  • Teeth and gum color changes
  • Thrush, or an oral yeast infection

While certainly not the only concerning side effect, dry mouth is one of the most troublesome side effects of medicines. Saliva is probably the most undervalued aspect of oral health. A dry mouth is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria because saliva is not constantly washing them away from the teeth and gums. A dry mouth will also quickly harden plaque into tartar, which cannot be removed from the teeth outside of the dentist’s office. If tartar is allowed to linger on the teeth, it will begin to eat away at the tooth enamel and cause irreversible damage.

Most allergy medications, both over the counter and prescription, contain antihistamines. Antihistamines help dry up the overabundance of mucus within the sinuses, but at the same time, they dry up saliva inside the mouth. If you are taking an antihistamine medicine, you need to make sure that you are drinking at least eight 8-oz glasses of water every day to stay hydrated. It will also benefit you to gargle with salt water a couple of times a day. Saltwater will help draw the mucus out of your sinuses and cut down on the harmful bacteria inside your mouth. Saltwater can also soothe a sore throat, but you must make sure that you do not swallow it; only gargle with it.

At Buford Family Dental, we are here for all of your oral health care needs. If you are suffering from allergies and are concerned with how your allergy medications are affecting your oral health, please contact us today.