If you have seasonal, pet, or food allergies, you are probably well aware of the telltale symptoms such as sneezing, watery eyes, runny nose, itchy skin, and in the case of food allergies, gastrointestinal symptoms such as abdominal pain and diarrhea.
While these are the most common symptoms, other, more uncommon manifestations can develop. These include alterations in your teeth, gum tissue, and bones that support your teeth that may negatively affect your dental implants. Here are three ways your allergies can affect your dental implants and what you can do about them:
When you have allergies, a body-wide systemic inflammatory response takes place. When this happens, chemicals known as pro-inflammatory cytokines are released into your bloodstream.
This can lead to gum inflammation and may even raise your risk for infection at the implant site. The release of cytokines can also lead to immune suppression, and if you recently had your dental implant surgery, this may increase your risk for developing an infection. If you suffer from allergies and have dental implants, make sure you take your prescribed allergy medications, get plenty of rest, and keep your doors and windows closed when outdoor allergens are at their highest.
Allergies can also cause your mouth to dry out either from mouth breathing due to nasal congestion or from your antihistamine medications. Antihistamines not only dry out secretions from your nasal passages and help with excessive eye tearing, they also lead to oral dryness.
Saliva is essential to your oral health because it helps wash away infection-causing bacteria in your mouth, and when your body doesn't produce enough, you may be at a higher risk for an infection at your dental implant sites. To avoid a dry mouth, drink plenty of water or other non-caffeinated beverages and use an over-the-counter moisturizing mouthwash.
Severe allergies can also lead to bone changes in your jaw. This is especially true if you take corticosteroids to manage breathing problems associated with your allergies or if you have asthma that is triggered by allergies.
Corticosteroids can raise the risk for brittle bones, and if interventions are not taken to minimize this risk, the bones that support your dental implants may weaken. If you take corticosteroids to manage a breathing problem, talk to your doctor about ways to keep your bones strong. It may be recommended that you eat foods rich in calcium and vitamin D such as salmon, dairy products, and green leafy vegetables. Doing so will not only help keep your bones healthy, but will also help maintain oral health as well.
If you have allergies, work with both your primary care physician and your dentist to develop an effective treatment plan that will not only help manage your allergic symptoms but will also help keep your dental implants in good condition.