Reference 1: All About Allergies: Be Ready for Spring 2023
A rapid introduction to test your knowledge about Spring Allergies
Author: Praveen Buddiga, MD – Medscape
The first symptoms that come to mind when you think about allergies may be sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, or coughing, but did you know allergies can also cause sensitivity in your teeth? What may feel like an everyday toothache could be the result of an allergic reaction to something in your environment. When allergens enter the sinus cavities, the surrounding tissues fill with fluid that causes congestion and sinus pressure. This pressure tends to affect the area where the sinus cavity and the root of your top teeth overlap, triggering pain in the teeth. Next time you think you should see a dentist for sensitivity in the gums, you may need to book a consultation with your allergy and immunology specialist instead! Here’s why.
When pain or sensitivity arises, it can be difficult to determine what is causing the pain. A good indicator is where you are experiencing the toothache. Tooth pain associated with allergies will typically present in the upper molars and feel like it is affecting a larger area of your mouth instead of one tooth in particular. Another indicator that your pain is a result of allergies is if you notice inflammation in your face. The two most common symptoms that cause sinus-related toothaches are pressure and congestion, but a few more common symptoms that can pop up are throbbing pressure near the eyes or forehead, nasal drip, and earaches. It is best to be aware and monitor your symptoms!
As we will see, many different types of allergens can produce this pain such as seasonal and environmental, and even allergies to medications. First, let’s take a look at seasonal allergies.
Seasonal allergies are one of the main culprits when you are experiencing tooth pain associated with allergies. When you experience an allergic reaction, the body produces an excess of mucus to try to rid the body of the allergen. This can create uncomfortable pressure in your face and head and even build up enough to touch the root tips of your teeth.
These symptoms typically arise in reaction to allergens such as different kinds of trees, high pollen counts, and various kinds of grasses. These substances thrive the most during cool nights and warm days causing more reactions and potentially tooth pain.
Don’t fear! There is relief in sight if you are experiencing tooth pain associated with seasonal allergies. A few of the most common remedies are:
Seasonal allergies aren’t the only source of tooth pain – several allergic reactions have been identified as culprits for sensitivity in the mouth.
The first is oral allergy syndrome. OAS is an allergic reaction that affects the lips, mouth, and throat and is most commonly found in those with asthma or hay fever from pollen.
Some of the causes of oral allergy syndrome are due to cross-reactions between plant proteins from pollen and fruits or vegetables. When someone eats a raw fruit or vegetable, the immune system recognizes it as a foreign invader and causes an allergic reaction.
Common cross-reaction pollens and foods are:
Signs and symptoms of oral allergy syndrome typically come on rapidly and cause swelling of the lips, mouth, throat, and the gums which results in tooth pain. Treatments for oral allergy syndrome usually involve avoiding the allergen or food as best as possible and, if needed, antihistamines can be very helpful to relieve symptoms rapidly.
The second allergic reaction that can cause tooth pain is angioedema. This condition is the swelling of the deep layers of skin caused by an accumulation of fluid. It is similar to hives, however, this swelling is under the skin rather than on the surface. Angioedema can present itself in just about any part of the body, but swelling most commonly shows up in the eyes, lips, hands, feet, and occasionally in the mouth.
Angioedema is caused by allergic reactions. During a reaction, histamines are released into the bloodstream when the immune system detects a foreign substance and identifies it as a threat (an allergen). Some of the most common allergens that cause the swelling are pet dander, extreme cold or heat, some foods like berries, fish, or nuts, insect bites, pollen, and some antibiotics. The main symptoms one could experience are cramping, difficulty breathing, swollen eyes and mouth, and swelling in the lining of the eyes.
After speaking with a specialist about your symptoms, some treatments for this condition may include avoiding the known allergen or trigger as best as possible, using antihistamines, applying cold compresses to the swollen area, taking anti-inflammatory medications, and using an inhaler to help open up the airways. For a potentially blocked airway, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.
The third allergic reaction that may cause pain in the teeth is anaphylaxis. It is a rare but very serious allergic reaction that arises when someone is exposed to an allergen. In most cases, those with allergies may experience moderate symptoms of a runny nose, itchy eyes, or a rash, but in severe cases, allergies to food, insects, medications, and environmental substances can cause an anaphylactic reaction.
Symptoms of anaphylaxis can include trouble breathing, hives, tightness in the throat, pain in the mouth, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, fainting, and low blood pressure. The symptoms may start mild but then progress quickly, which is why it is so important to get help as soon as possible or use an injectable epinephrine if the person experiencing the allergic reaction is prepared and aware of their allergy.
Treatments include knowing the trigger and avoiding it as best as possible, carrying an epinephrine pen everywhere in case of emergency, wearing identification of an allergen, and seeing a specialist to help review treatment options with you.
Now, what about allergies to medications? It’s a lesser-known cause of tooth pain but still possible when someone unaware of an allergy takes certain medications.
The first is antihistamines. Surprising, right? The role of an antihistamine is to help suppress allergy symptoms, but in many cases this medication can actually cause dry mouth resulting in tooth and gum issues.This is due to a lack of saliva, which helps to wash away bacteria and acid. Without it, the teeth and gums are subject to gum disease, cavities, infection, and subsequent tooth pain.
Another allergy medication that causes tooth pain is decongestants. This medication that many people take for common colds and allergies can increase your risk of dental problems in the same way that antihistamines do: dry mouth. A more natural alternative to using decongestants is taking hot showers to allow the steam to open up your airways and break down the mucus.
Finally, nasal steroids. Research has shown that even though steroids have many benefits, they have been shown to cause adverse effects including tooth pain. This is categorized as dentine hypersensitivity. One of the best things you can do is maintain good dental health and look for alternate treatments if you are experiencing tooth pain.
At the end of the day, those suffering from tooth pain related to allergies really just want to find relief, and we’re here to help!
A few of the best ways to ease the sensitivity you feel due to allergies are:
We all know that allergies aren’t going away any time soon, but doing your research, understanding your triggers, and working with a specialist like Dr. Buddiga is a great way to manage your symptoms and prevent allergic reactions from happening at inopportune times. Be sure to schedule your appointment today for a consultation about your symptoms and to get routine allergy testing for you and your family.
If you are curious about how allergies affect more parts of the body, explore this more recent article about how allergies can cause swollen lymph nodes. The more knowledge you have, the better you can manage your symptoms.
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