Allergies and Tooth Pain: Is There a Connection?

Father and Son Pick Flowers Outside in Spring

Seasonal allergies can be a pain — literally. If you've ever experienced a toothache simultaneously with allergies, you're not wrong to think the two might be connected. The sniffles you experience during an allergic reaction could indirectly impact your teeth. Here's what to know and how to find relief for your symptoms.

The Connection Between Allergies and Tooth Pain

As if a runny nose, sneezing, and sore, itchy eyes weren't enough to deal with during allergy season, you might also suffer from tooth pain. According to the University of Kentucky School of Dentistry, the reason for this is the close proximity between the maxillary sinuses and the mouth. The maxillary sinuses are the largest sinuses in the human body. They surround the nasal cavity, and they're lined with sensitive tissue that becomes inflamed during an allergic reaction. When this happens, pressure can build up inside the sinuses and push against the upper molars, causing pain while chewing, sensitivity to extreme temperatures in the mouth and, sometimes, a throbbing sensation.

Is It Sinus Pressure or Dental Decay?

So, is your tooth pain due to allergies, or do you have a cavity? The fact that there's a relationship between allergies and tooth pain can make it difficult to decide whether to visit your doctor or your dentist. The symptoms of dental decay and pressure on your sinuses are similar, but there are some signs to help you tell the difference.

There are several symptoms of tooth decay that aren't associated with allergies. For instance, the Mayo Clinic explains that white, brown or black stains on your teeth or holes that you can see or feel with your tongue may indicate you have a cavity. Additionally, you may feel some pain when biting down or when eating sweet, cold or hot foods. If you experience these symptoms, you should see your dentist.

On the other hand, if you take an antihistamine and your tooth pain goes away, it may be an indication that the discomfort was related to your allergies, as the University of Kentucky School of Dentistry explains. In addition, if the pain is restricted to your upper molars, it could also indicate that your toothache is possibly due to sinus pressure. Other symptoms of an allergic reaction include dry mouth, a sore throat, and bad breath.

How to Ease Allergy Symptoms

The Mayo Clinic offers advice on how to reduce the symptoms of seasonal allergies:

  • Avoid going outside during dry, windy conditions when the pollen count is high.
  • If you do go outside, reduce your exposure to pollen by changing your clothes and showering when you go home.
  • Close your windows and doors at night and on days when the weather reports state that the pollen count is high.
  • Reduce indoor allergen triggers by using a dehumidifier, a particulate air filter and air conditioner fitted with a high-efficiency filter.
  • Treat your allergies with an over-the-counter oral antihistamine, decongestant or nasal spray, or use a combined anti-allergy medication.
  • Irrigate your nasal passages with a squeeze bottle filled with a saltwater solution.

If your tooth pain doesn't ease or worsens after treating your allergy symptoms, see your doctor or dentist.

A dull, nagging, throbbing pain in your upper molars isn't pleasant, but it may just be another symptom of allergies rather than a cavity. Assess your symptoms and consider whether you might be suffering from seasonal allergies or another condition that causes sinus inflammation, then seek the advice of your medical provider for a complete diagnosis.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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For example, people suffering from certain respiratory diseases may be using anti-inflammatory medications, which means they can experience dry mouth, increase in plaque and gingivitis development, and be more susceptible to yeast and fungal infections.