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Spring has sprung

Spring has sprung, and with it all those nasty pollens that irritate our eyes and noses. See what advice our practitioners have for combating allergy season…

Many people are surprised to learn that allergies and hay fever can have a huge impact on dental health. Here’s how:

  1. When our noses are blocked up we are forced to breath through our mouths instead. This dries our mouth and lessens the protective effect of saliva on our teeth by washing away food particles and bacteria and prevent decay and gum disease
  2. One of the side- effects of nasal decongestants can be a dry mouth, again increasing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease
  3. Corticosteroids present in some nasal sprays can impinge on the body’s ability to heal, if used consistently for a long period of time
  4. Sinusitis, meaning inflammation of the sinus cavities in your face, can cause pressure on your teeth that can mimic a toothache


So how can you protect your teeth, gums and general oral health during allergy season?

  1. Drink plenty of water to rehydrate
  2. Brush your teeth twice a day, ideally with an electric toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste to remove food debris and bacteria and re-mineralise your teeth
  3. If your dry mouth is very bad, you can use saliva replacements or stimulants such as Biotene or Tooth Mousse Dry, available from the dentist or chemist
  4. Let your dentist know you are using a corticosteroid prior to any tooth extraction, surgery or deep clean
  5. While dentists cannot diagnose or treat allergies, a dentist with additional training plays a key role in screening for signs of allergy, airway blockages, breathing disorders and obstructive sleep apnoea. I use my advanced knowledge and skills to refer for the appropriate tests and to the appropriate specialists for diagnosis and treatment. Ensure your dentist has extra qualifications in airway disorders if you are concerned
  6. Research has revealed a link between airway obstruction, which can be caused by allergy, and restricted facial development. Children who are unable to breathe through their nose properly are more likely to have crowded teeth, narrow jaws or jaws that don’t grow far enough forwards. A dentist with orthodontic and airway training can screen for possible airway issues and assess a child’s orthodontic development. In some cases it is appropriate to expand the jaws so that a child’s teeth develop better and less orthodontic treatment is required in the future

Some helpful tips from our nutritionist Angela against hay fever symptoms


If you sneeze and splutter at grasses, pollens and dust (airborne allergens), the chances are high (about 80 per cent) that you may have food sensitivity as well.  If you avoid eating the foods that you are sensitive to, you will decrease the load on your immune system and the hay fever symptoms should abate.

What to do


  • The first foods to investigate are ‘wheat’ and ‘dairy’. If you know you are sensitive to grasses, think about choosing wheat as your first food sensitivity simply because it too is a grass
  • Drink at least two litres of clear fluid a day to allow the mucus to drain and reduce your risk of infected sinuses
  • Avoid alcohol as it swells the mucous linings, which are already inflamed. You may also be sensitive to the histamines in wine
  • Increase foods high in vitamin C, a natural antihistamine,  citrus, papaya, kiwifruit, strawberries, pineapple, guava, rockmelon, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts and capsicum
  • Garlic and onions are naturally anti-inflammatory, mucous-clearing and contain antibiotic properties
  • Avoid dairy products if they tend to increase mucus production




  • Quercetin – a bioflavonoid (apples, blackcurrants and cherries are a good source) acts like an antihistamine
  • Vitamin C – an excellent natural antihistamine
  • Evening primrose oil – taken throughout the year can decrease your allergic response…the essential fatty acid (DHGLA) found in evening primrose oil is particularly anti-inflammatory
    The best gift of all for someone suffering with sinus or hayfever is a ‘Neti Pot’…Neti is Sanskrit for ‘nasal cleansing’. It’s a simple yet effective device. You simply pour a salt-water solution into one nostril and let it run out through the other…a little tricky to get the hang of, but highly effective, giving you a beautiful ‘spring-cleaned nose’!

And a recommendation from our experienced GP Dr. Nick Krasner

Dr Nick Krasner

It’s tempting to reach for the nasal decongestant at the first sign of a runny nose or itchy red eyes, but be careful not to use decongestants for a prolonged period of time. After a while, use of nasal decongestants can actually increase the symptoms of allergy such as inflammation, runny nose, nasal congestion and headaches, forcing you to use them more and more frequently. Speak to your doctor if you suffer from hay fever and discuss your options, such as:

  • Regularly airing your house to reduce accumulation of dust, mould spores or pet hair
  • Use of dust mite covers for bedding and regular washing of sheets, blankets, pillows and your child’s soft toys
  • Referral to an allergist for allergen immunotherapy or desensitisation treatment. This treatment works like a vaccine, by exposing you to a small dose of the substance you are allergic to. Treatment can involve weekly injections at the allergist or drops or tablets administered daily under your tongue.
  • Referral to an Ear, Nose and Throat surgeon for assessment and possible therapy or surgery
  • Combined nasal decongestant and corticosteroid therapy
  • UV light therapy which could be helpful for reducing your body’s response to airborne allergens