If you wear braces, you might experience temporary tooth or gum pain. Your dental pain is caused by the shifting of your teeth, and your gum pain may be caused by tight-fitting hardware or loose wires or brackets. While these are the most common causes of oral pain while wearing braces, there are other, less common causes, such as allergies, that may contribute to your discomfort. Here are three ways your allergies may be irritating your oral cavity when wearing braces:
Chronic allergies can sometimes lead to sinus infections, that if not recognized and treated early on, may cause microorganisms from your post nasal drip to migrate into your oral cavity. When this happens, you may be at a heightened risk for developing a gum infection underneath your brackets or wires. You may also be at a higher risk for developing a type of oral yeast infection known as mucosal candidiasis, which can cause white patches, bleeding, and gum irritation in your mouth.
It is important to note, that your risk for a sinus-related gum infection is higher if your sinus infection is bacterial in nature as opposed to viral. If you have a bacterial sinus infection, your physician may prescribe an oral antibiotic to help eliminate the sinus infection and to reduce your risk of an oral infection. Let your orthodontist know if you have a sinus infection so that your gums can be examined for abnormalities such as redness, bleeding, purulent drainage, or sloughing.
Your allergies may also be accompanied by nasal congestion, which can make it difficult to breathe through your nose. Because of this, you may breathe through your mouth, which can lead to oral dryness. You need adequate salivary flow in order to wash away infection-causing bacteria that can build up in your mouth and under your braces. Bacterial buildup not only raises the risk for infection, it can also lead to gum irritation and periodontitis, a severe form of gum disease that can cause bone loss.
When your mouth is too dry, bacteria and yeast have a hospitable environment in which to grow and flourish. If you have allergies that make you breathe through your mouth, your orthodontist can prescribe a moisturizing oral rinse to help wash away bacteria, which will reduce your risk for gum infections and oral irritation.
If you have seasonal allergies, you probably have taken antihistamines to help treat your runny nose, watery eyes, and sneezing. While effective in relieving these symptoms, antihistamines, like mouth breathing, can lead to a dry mouth.
While breathing through your mouth can temporarily cause dryness, long-term use of antihistamines can severely dehydrate your oral mucosa, raising the risk for gum irritation and infection under your dental appliances. If antihistamines make your mouth too dry, your physician may be able to prescribe a different allergy medication that is less likely to produce oral side effects.
If you suffer from allergies, work with both your orthodontist and physician, like Simmons Craig A D D S, to develop an effective treatment plan that will help minimize your risk for gum irritation and infection. The sooner problems are recognized and treated, the more effective your braces will be in restoring your smile.