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Chronic Sinusitis Symptoms and the Effects on Oral Health

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Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

Have you ever noticed that when you're sick, your mouth feels off? It could be because conditions like sinusitis can have side effects that affect your oral health. Sinusitis is a condition characterized by the sinuses' inflammation, the group of air-filled spaces located inside the bones around your nose. The sinuses can become inflamed for many reasons, not just an infection. According to Medline Plus, when swelling continues for more than three months, it's known as chronic sinusitis. Chronic sinusitis symptoms can affect your oral health in several ways.

What Are the Symptoms of Sinusitis?

Chronic sinusitis can produce more than nasal congestion. Here are some of the most common symptoms of chronic sinusitis:

  • Fever
  • Pain around your nose, cheeks, and eyes
  • A reduced sense of smell or taste
  • Discolored mucus draining out of your nose or down your throat (usually yellow or green)
  • Fatigue
  • A sore throat
  • Coughing that won't go away.
  • Pain that radiates to your ears, teeth, or upper jaw

If any of these chronic sinusitis symptoms occur, be sure to seek guidance from your doctor.

How Does Sinusitis Affect Oral Health?

When you have sinusitis or similar respiratory conditions, the irritation can radiate from your sinuses all the way to your upper teeth. This pain can affect multiple teeth on the same side of your mouth, making you worry that you have some dental issues, such as a cavity or tooth sensitivity. Nevertheless, if you experience toothaches, it's best to see your dentist determine the cause.

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. Although you may think you have regular halitosis, good oral hygiene habits like regular toothbrushing and mouthwash won't be enough to freshen your mouth if sinusitis is causing your bad breath woes. If a doctor determines that an infection is responsible for your bad breath, they may prescribe antibiotics to clear it up.

Medications used to treat sinusitis can also have side effects that affect the inside of 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 dry mouth treatments, such as a special gel, to keep you safe from complications in the interim.

How to Maintain Oral Health With Sinusitis

It's important to continue your routine, even when you're not feeling well. Twice-daily brushing and once-daily flossing or interdental cleaning with interdental brushes or water flossers are essential to keeping your mouth healthy while you fight off infection. Continue regular visits to your dentist but let them know that you are experiencing chronic sinusitis before you arrive. Besides cleaning your teeth, your dental professional can offer treatments against sinusitis’ negative side effects.

If you think you might be getting sick, stay on the lookout for sinusitis symptoms, and be aware of how the condition can affect your oral health. If you keep up a good oral care routine, your mouth should start feeling more normal as the sinusitis subsides. Talk to your dental professional for more tips and tricks on keeping your mouth feeling good when the rest of your body might not be.

Oral Care Center articles are reviewed by an oral health medical professional. This information is for educational purposes only. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist, physician or other qualified healthcare provider. 

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