Sinusitis is a condition characterized by inflammation of the sinuses, the group of air-filled spaces located inside the bones around your nose. The sinuses can become inflamed due to a number of things, not just an infection. And when this swelling continues for more than three months, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), it's known as chronic sinusitis.
Chronic sinusitis symptoms can manifest themselves in your oral health in a number of ways.
What to Look For
Chronic sinusitis can produce more than nasal congestion, Mayo Clinic suggests. You might feel pain around your nose, cheeks and eyes, a reduced sense of smell or taste and discolored mucus draining out of your nose or down your throat (usually yellow or green). In addition to these symptoms, you may also experience fatigue, a sore throat, coughing that won't go away and even pain that radiates to your ears, teeth or upper jaw. If any of these chronic sinusitis symptoms creep up, be sure to seek guidance from your doctor.
Effects on Oral Health
When you have sinusitis, the irritation can radiate from your sinuses to your upper teeth. And because this pain can affect multiple teeth on the same side of your mouth, it may make you worry that you have certain dental problems, such as a cavity. Nevertheless, if you experience toothaches, see your dentist to determine their cause.
Not Your Typical Bad Breath
Sinusitis can also lead to bad breath, especially if the virus responsible for your sinusitis infects your throat as well. This infection leads to a foul smell in the back of the throat. And although you may think you have regular halitosis, good oral hygiene habits like regular tooth brushing and mouthwash won't be enough to freshen your mouth. If the dentist determines that an infection is responsible for your bad breath, you may be prescribed antibiotics to clear it up.
The medications used to treat sinusitis can also have side effects inside your mouth. For example, antihistamines can lead to dry mouth, leaving you without enough saliva to cleanse your teeth of bacteria during the day. This condition can lead to dental issues such as tooth decay or a yeast infection. Fortunately, your dentist can offer treatments for dry mouth, such as a special gel to keep you safe from these complications in the interim.
How to Maintain Oral Health
It's important to continue your regular routine of twice-daily brushing and once-daily flossing, even when you're not feeling well. If sinusitis leaves you feeling tired, you may find it easier to use a battery-operated toothbrush such as Colgate® 360°® Total® Advanced Powered, which requires less arm motion to remain thorough with your oral hygiene care.
Regular visits to your dentist are very important when suffering from chronic sinusitis. In addition to cleaning your teeth, he or she can offer treatments against the effects this issue causes to help you improve your oral health.