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Amy is a Board Certified Family Health Nurse Practitioner (FNP) with over 15 years of experience working in Hospital Medicine, Urgent Care and Primary Care practices. Amy graduated Thomas Jefferson University with high distinction earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2008, a Master of Science in Nursing in 2010 and a Post Master's Certificate in Adult Gerontology Acute Care (AGAC) in 2014. She was recognized by the Elite American Nurses Association in 2013 for her dedication, achievements and leadership in the field Nursing. She served as a clinical preceptor for a number of Nurse Practitioner students and enjoys teaching the bright minds of future NPs.
The changing seasons bring along a new host of allergens in the air, causing itching, sneezing, and watery eyes. However, one of the less well-known symptoms of allergies is a dry mouth, which can result from allergies or allergy medicine.
A dry mouth is not only uncomfortable, leaving you eternally wishing for a drink of water, but it can also cause some unpleasant symptoms such as bad breath and dental problems. Because of this, managing your dry mouth during allergy season and maintaining good oral hygiene to prevent any long-term complications is crucial.
Table of Contents
- Can Seasonal Allergies Cause Dry Mouth?
- Most Common Allergies and Dry Mouth
- How to Prevent Dry Mouth From Allergies?
- How Else Can Allergies Affect Your Mouth?
- When to See a Doctor?
- Key Takeaways
Can Seasonal Allergies Cause Dry Mouth?
Seasonal allergies result from how the immune system reacts to allergens in the air. Some allergens are more common during certain times of the year, which is where seasonal allergies come from. The time in which allergens are most prevalent can vary by location, but tree pollen is generally most abundant in the spring, grass allergies pick up in the summer, and weed allergies are found in fall.
There are two reasons why allergies may cause dry mouth. First, you are more likely to breathe through your mouth when your nose is stuffy, which commonly affects many with seasonal allergies.
However, another contributor to dry mouth in those with allergies revolves around the treatment. Antihistamines are a common medication used to reduce an allergic reaction to seasonal allergies, but one of the side effects of many antihistamines is dry mouth.
Most Common Allergies and Dry Mouth
The most common contributor to a dry mouth is seasonal allergies, also known as allergic rhinitis or hay fever. Some of the frequent aggravators of seasonal allergies include:
- flowering plants
Symptoms of allergies, in addition to a dry mouth, include:
- stuffy or runny nose
- sore or itchy throat
- watery eyes
- trouble breathing
Allergies to specific foods can also cause a dry mouth, specifically minor food allergies. This is because minor food allergies are often treated with antihistamines, which can cause a dry mouth.
How to Prevent Dry Mouth From Allergies?
There are a few actions you can take to prevent a dry mouth from allergies.
When you have a dry mouth, one of the most important things you can do is make sure you are drinking enough water to ensure you are properly hydrated. Another benefit of drinking water, though, is that it can help flush away excess mucus, relieving some of the other unpleasant symptoms of allergies.
Avoid Allergens (If Possible)
Avoiding the source of your allergies can go a long way in protecting yourself from allergic reactions and a dry mouth. If you are allergic to a particular food, avoid eating it. If you are allergic to a specific allergen, try to avoid going outside when its pollen counts are high, and if you do go outside, shower when you come back in.
It’s not always possible to avoid allergens entirely, especially for those with seasonal allergies, but trying to limit exposure can help manage your symptoms.
How Else Can Allergies Affect Your Mouth?
Allergies can affect our mouth in many ways beyond a dry mouth.
Tooth pain that occurs from allergies is not centered around damage to the tooth but instead occurs from radiated pain.
Sinus pain is very common in those with allergies because of the immune system’s actions to protect the body from dust and pollen, which often enter the body through the nasal cavity. As the immune system fights the invaders, your sinuses fill up with mucus and pressure, causing pain in the face.
The maxillary sinuses, which are the largest sinuses in the face, are found directly above the mouth. When pressure builds in these sinuses, it may push down onto the roots of the upper molars, causing tooth pain. The pain can often shift as you change position, such as sitting, standing, or lying down. Additionally, your teeth may be more sensitive to foods at certain temperature extremes, such as food that is too hot or cold.
If you have allergies and are experiencing tooth pain, try taking an antihistamine. If the pain goes away with the medicine, it is likely allergy-related. If it does not go away, it is important to visit a dentist as you may have tooth decay.
The throat can easily become irritated by postnasal drip. Additionally, you may experience an itchy throat as the allergens infiltrate it.
In addition to pain, a sore throat, which is common in those with allergies, can also cause bad breath. The unfortunate thing about this type of bad breath is that, since it originates from the throat and not the mouth, brushing your teeth doesn’t help.
Poor Dental Health
The saliva in our mouths is vital in fighting bad bacteria and the harmful byproducts they produce that can cause tooth decay and gum disease. When you have a dry mouth due to allergies, the bad bacteria in your mouth can build up, allowing them to multiply and worsen your oral health. If left untreated, this can lead to serious problems such as periodontal disease or tooth loss.
When to See a Doctor?
If your seasonal allergies are interfering with your daily life or are unmanageable even with over-the-counter antihistamines, try speaking to a doctor about another solution. This may involve long-term prescription medication or allergy shots to help manage and reduce your symptoms.
For those who are experiencing tooth pain, it is recommended to visit a dentist to ensure that there is no tooth decay or gum disease that needs to be treated.
Get Help From an Online Doctor
If your seasonal allergies make it hard to enjoy time outside, visit an online doctor to discuss your symptoms. With DrHouse, you can meet with a doctor in as little as 15 minutes to discuss your dry mouth and receive a prescription for allergy medicine.
Seasonal allergies differ based on the time of year when allergens are at their highest. In general, tree allergies affect people in spring, grass pollen spikes in summer, and those with fall seasonal allergies can blame ragweed.
One of the symptoms of allergies is a dry mouth, which can occur due to the increase in mouth breathing that occurs with a stuffy nose or as a side effect of allergy medicine. A dry mouth can lead to problems such as bad breath and poor oral health, so it is crucial to address this symptom and focus on maintaining good oral hygiene. Online doctors, such as those at DrHouse, offer a convenient way to discuss allergy symptoms and receive prescription medication if needed.
- Schmidt C. W. (2016). Pollen Overload: Seasonal Allergies in a Changing Climate. Environmental health perspectives, 124(4), A70–A75. https://doi.org/10.1289/ehp.124-A70
- Tan, E., Lexomboon, D., Sandborgh‐Englund, G., Haasum, Y., & Johnell, K. (2017). Medications That Cause Dry Mouth As an Adverse Effect in Older People: A Systematic Review and Metaanalysis. Journal Of The American Geriatrics Society, 66(1), 76-84. https://doi.org/10.1111/jgs.15151
- Xerostomia (Dry Mouth). (2022). Retrieved 17 June 2022, from https://www.ada.org/resources/research/science-and-research-institute/oral-health-topics/xerostomia
- Dry Mouth. (2022). Retrieved 17 June 2022, from https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/health-info/dry-mouth
- Mohammed, A. (2014). Update knowledge of dry mouth- A guideline for dentists. African Health Sciences, 14(3), 736. doi: https://doi.org/10.4314/ahs.v14i3.33
- Gokdogan, O., Catli, T., & Ileri, F. (2015). Halitosis in Otorhinolaryngology Practice. Iranian Journal Of Otorhinolaryngology, 27(79), 145. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4409959/
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