An itching face, swelling cheeks, and a strange taste in your mouth: food allergies are no fun. In addition to being uncomfortable, this condition can have a notable effect on your overall well-being and quality of life. In some cases, unfortunately, those who have food allergies may not realize that their favorite snacks are the cause of their discomfort, so they may go on eating these harmful foods. At Dr. Cindy Flanagan’s Houston dental practice, our team is dedicated to helping you enjoy healthier, happier smiles in any way we can. You may not realize it, but your oral health is closely connected to your overall well-being in numerous ways. In many cases, food allergies present oral symptoms. Knowing these signs can help you safeguard your health. In the following blog, we go over the oral symptoms of food allergies and explain how we can help you spot them.
Food Allergy Essentials
First, it’s important to understand what allergies actually are. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America provides a simple definition: “an allergy is when your immune system reacts to a foreign substance, called can allergen.” Essentially, the body reacts to this substance as an irritant or toxin, which could lead to “coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes, a runny nose, and a scratchy throat” as well as “rashes, hives, low blood pressure, breathing trouble, [or] asthma attacks.” Many people suffer from allergies, but this condition isn’t often discussed—“it is among the country’s most common, but overlooked, diseases,” affecting “as many as 30 percent of adults.”
Of course, allergy sufferers can inhale or touch allergens, but food allergies are also particularly prevalent. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology, “a food allergy reaction occurs when your immune system overreacts to a food or substance in a food, identifying it as a danger and triggering a protective response.”
What Are the Symptoms?
The American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology explains: “symptoms of an allergic reaction may involve the skin, the gastrointestinal tract, the cardiovascular system, and the respiratory tract.” Food allergies can lead to breathing problems, coughing, shock, “weak pulse,” skin discoloration, disorientation, “wheezing,” nausea, intestinal cramping, hives, or “anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening reaction that can impair breathing and send the body into shock; reactions may simultaneously affect different parts of the body.” Unsurprisingly, food allergies also have distinct oral symptoms, such as “trouble swallowing” and “swelling of the tongue” or irritation of the mouth tissues.
How Our Houston Dental Practice Can Help
In many cases, people with food allergies suffer relatively mild symptoms or incorrectly attribute them to another issue. Unfortunately, if you suffer from food allergies but fail to realize this, you could be at risk for the dangers of anaphylaxis–in addition to dealing with discomfort. Dr. Flanagan and our team are here to help you enhance every aspect of your oral and general health. At your biannual preventive care appointments, we will examine your mouth for any irregular symptoms, including those of food allergies, as well as discuss your dietary habits with you. Based on this information, we may be able to diagnose your food allergies so you can avoid irritation and improve your overall well-being. We would also be delighted to discuss any concerns you have about your oral health, diet, or potential food allergies.
Could You Be Suffering From Food Allergies?
Dr. Flanagan and our team can assist you! Contact our Houston dental practice today to learn more and schedule an appointment with Dr. Flanagan.