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Calimas and allergies and how they affect oral health 

PAGE 33 ARTEDENTAL

Those hypersensitive to mites, pollen and other allergens associated with the weather should be rubbing their hands to say goodbye to spring to make way shortly for the summer.

But, a warning for those with allergies: in the islands, the seasons are not as marked as in the continental zone and therefore a clear seasonal component of the allergies in the Canary Islands does not exist except for the spring pollen rebound. In addition, here a meteorological phenomenon very associated with respiratory allergies is experienced and can occur at any time of the year: the haze.

The calima originates when the dust of the Sahara is dragged towards the islands by the oriental winds, being in suspension during hours or even days. The air is clouded and visibility reduces as a result of this dust, which mainly affects people with allergies or respiratory problems. A little known aspect is how these conditions can have consequences for oral health.

According to the College of Dentists of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, allergies can affect not only the respiratory system, but also oral health. By combating allergen agents such as dust or pollen, the immune system fills mucus in the hollows of our head, and the larger ones are precisely the maxillary sinuses. These are located just above the mouth, and when filled with mucus they press the roots of the upper molars, causing pain or greater sensitivity to cold and heat.

Dry mouth is another common effect of allergies. When the nasal passages are blocked, there is no other way to breathe through the mouth, causing dryness due to the absence of saliva. Paradoxically, the lack of saliva is also a side effect of the intake of antihistamines that fight allergies. Saliva is essential in the control of oral infections. On the one hand, it protects the surface of the mouth and teeth; and on the other, it maintains the PH level, and it dilutes and eliminates sugars. In their absence, the risk of caries or bad breath increases.

The hygienists of the Arte-dental Clinic, in Puerto de la Cruz, recommend first going to the dentist if you experience any of these symptoms, but also list a series of tips to mitigate the effects of allergies in the mouth:

Hydrate. Drinking water and non-sugar liquids counteract the effects of dry mouth and helps eliminate excess mucus.

Gargling with salt water. Salt also helps eliminate excess mucus. Gargling with the mixture of one tablespoon of salt in a glass of warm water can improve this symptom.

Take care of oral hygiene. You have to brush your teeth at least twice a day if you suffer from dry mouth. Flossing is also beneficial for these cases.

Consult the specialist. The visit to the dentist should be supported with the consultation of a doctor who treats allergies.

In the Canary Islands it is presumed to have the best climate in the world, but this also has its consequences. In addition, the heat increases the cases of allergies and respiratory problems, so it can also affect oral health.

Protecting the mouth is essential for our well-being, because poor care can cause not only decay, but periodontitis, tooth loss, cancer and even cardiovascular diseases. Do not underestimate the annual visit recommended by dentists, as it can prevent any of these diseases.