Oral Allergy Syndrome is not typically something your dentist can help with, but since it involves the mouth, it is in the dentist’s realm. Oral Allergy Syndrome is itching, burning, or swelling in your mouth caused by certain foods. It’s usually seen most often in people that also have hay fever. The main symptoms are swelling of your tongue, mouth, throat or lips; itchy mouth or ears; or a scratchy throat and usually occur just after you’ve eaten raw produce (fruit, vegetables, and nuts). It is thought that these symptoms are caused by similar substances that are found in both pollen and raw produce.
In most cases, the irritation usually goes away quickly and doesn’t require treatment but it can progress to a body-wide or anaphylactic reaction. Those who have severe, body-wide reactions may need to carry an injectable epinephrine pen. Unfortunately, you can’t count on antihistamine medications or allergy shots to prevent a reaction, so it is best to avoid your triggers.
You may be able to peel the fruit or vegetable to minimize your reaction since most of the substances are located in the peel. Canned versions, baking, or microwaving also helps since cooking can deactivate the offending substances.
Some examples of pollen/produce interactions:
- Birch pollen => apples, almonds, cherries, carrots, celery, hazelnuts, kiwis, peaches, pears, and plums
- Grass pollen => celery, melons, oranges, peaches, and tomatoes
- Ragweed pollen => bananas, cucumbers, melons, sunflower seeds, and zucchini
If you think you have Oral Allergy Syndrome, your dentist may be able to refer you to an allergist or physician for additional testing .
Note: This advice is not intended to replace the clinical judgement of your healthcare professionals.
Dr. Jennifer Robb is a general dentist who is taking new patients at her office located at 1612 Cooper Foster Park Rd., Lorain, OH. Call 440-960-1940 to reserve your seat!