If you have a mild peanut allergy or simply a sensitivity to them, tell your orthodontist. Allergic reactions from peanuts can have negative effects on your oral cavity, so you will need more frequent dental visits if you eat peanuts regularly. Here are three ways a peanut sensitivity can affect your mouth and braces treatment and what you can do about them:
Allergies and sensitivities to peanuts trigger systemic inflammation as a result of the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines. When your circulation is flooded with cytokines during an allergic reaction, you may experience joint pain, muscle aches, and even gum inflammation. Because of this, your braces may feel tight and your gums may bleed. To reduce systemic inflammation caused by the release of cytokines, try taking over-the-counter antihistamines. They may inhibit the release of cytokines, reducing systemic inflammation and swollen gum tissue.
The inflammatory response triggered by a peanut sensitivity may cause increased mucus production inside your nasal passage and subsequent nasal congestion. Because of this, breathing through your nose may be difficult, causing you to breathe through your mouth.
This can lead to oral dryness, and if it persists, you may be at risk for a gum infection. When your salivary glands are unable to produce enough saliva to wash away oral bacteria, microorganisms may accumulate inside your mouth. Also, peanuts contain aflatoxins, which are harmful substances produced by molds and specific fungi.
They can irritate your gum tissue and may raise your risk for developing a fungal infection under your braces. Make sure you tell your orthodontist about your peanut sensitivity or your allergy to aflatoxins so that he or she can monitor your mouth for signs of a fungal infection.
Itching Underneath Your Braces
Eating peanuts, even if you do not have a sensitivity to them, can cause the inside of your mouth to itch. If you do have nut sensitivities, the itching may become very intense, especially underneath your brackets. Antihistamines can help stop oral itching; however, as stated above, they can cause a dry mouth.
If you eat peanuts or other foods that contain aflatoxins and develop gum itching, drink plenty of water to help wash away the allergens. In addition to the risk for gum irritation and fungal infections, eating peanuts may cause severe pain if a piece becomes embedded underneath your brackets or wires.
If you have a peanut allergy or sensitivity, you should avoid eating them altogether. If, however, you are unable to break your nut habit, make sure you visit your orthodontist on a regular basis so that he or she can determine if your oral cavity has been affected by your penchant for peanuts and so he or she can evaluate your gum tissue. The sooner problems are recognized and treated, the less likely you will be to develop oral complications from eating peanuts.