If you suffer from chronic post-nasal drip, then you are probably familiar with the most common symptoms of nasal congestion: a feeling that something is dripping down the back of your throat, a sore throat, and a cough. In addition to these symptoms, you may also notice unusual changes in your mouth. Here are three ways post-nasal drip can affect your teeth and gums and what you can do about them:
The constant dripping of bacteria-laden nasal discharge into your throat and mouth can heighten your risk of developing gum disease. If post-nasal drip-related gingivitis is not recognized and treated promptly, you may develop a severe form of gum disease known as periodontitis.
This condition can cause damage to your soft tissue as well as destruction of the bones that support your teeth. At the first sign of gum inflammation, pain, or bleeding, see your dentist. If your periodontitis is extensive, your dentist may refer you to a periodontist, a dentist who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of gum disease, for further evaluation.
Post-nasal drip can be accompanied by nasal congestion; this, in conjunction with antihistamines, can cause a dry mouth. While antihistamines are effective in drying up nasal secretions and the drippy feeling in your throat, they can also limit the amount of saliva that your salivary glands produce.
You need adequate salivary flow to help wash away infection-causing bacteria, and when you do not have it, an overgrowth of oral bacteria can develop. If your mouth is dry as a result of post-nasal drip and your medications, drink plenty of water throughout the day to help restore oral moisture. In addition to this, talk to your dentist about recommending a lubricating enzyme-based mouthwash to keep your oral tissues healthy and moist.
Post-nasal drip not only causes local symptoms, it can also trigger systemic problems as well. When you have post-nasal drip or allergies, your body releases chemicals that trigger a body-wide inflammatory response.
This response can raise your risk for infections, joint pain, oral inflammation, and in some cases, heart irregularities. Oral inflammation can cause tooth pain and bleeding gums, and may raise your risk for cavities. Taking certain prescription allergy medications can suppress the release of pro-inflammatory chemicals and subsequently dampen systemic inflammation.
If you develop inflammation anywhere inside your mouth, see your dentist for further evaluation and treatment. If you are prone to post-nasal drip, work with your dentist and allergist to develop an effective treatment plan that will help eliminate your symptoms as soon as possible. For more information, contact experts like Reconstructive & Implant Dental - Edward M Amet DDS.