When winter’s chill sets in, we feel it in every bone in our body, and that includes our teeth. You may notice that during the wintertime your teeth feel more sensitive than usual, and exposure to cold air only makes it worse. Cold weather actually affects your teeth more than most people realize, and it’s a good idea to take a few preventive measures to keep your teeth in good shape during the wintry months.
How the Cold Affects Your Teeth
- Cracks. Most people think of teeth as solid, but they are actually quite porous, and when they are exposed to cold air, they contract. If you transition between warm and cold repeatedly, they will expand and contract a lot, and this can lead to the formation of hairline cracks in the enamel of your teeth.
- Erosion. When you become cold, you may be prone to clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth as you shiver and try to keep warm. Excessive clenching and grinding can wear away at the enamel layer and weaken your teeth, making them more sensitive and more susceptible to decay and damage.
- Exacerbates other issues. If you don’t realize that you’ve got cavities, gum disease, erosion, or ill-fitting restorations like crowns or fillings that are in poor shape, the cold weather will suddenly make you acutely aware of them. Any exposure to cold will increase the sensitivity of existing issues and may give you the heads-up you need to make a dental appointment and have your teeth checked out.
How You Can Offset the Effects of Cold Weather
The most likely reason why the cold weather affects your teeth is because you are keeping your mouth open for prolonged periods of time while outside. This is especially true if you exercise outside during the winter months, making it particularly important to care for your teeth. Keep your mouth closed and breathe in through your mouth as much as possible, so your mouth doesn’t dry out and your teeth don’t contract. When your mouth is closed, your teeth will be coated in saliva which helps to protect them.
If your teeth feel more sensitive in the wintertime, switch to a softer toothbrush and opt for a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth. Make sure you floss daily to stimulate your gums, making them stronger and less likely to recede and expose the sensitive roots of the teeth. The mouthwash you use should be an alcohol-free fluoride mouthwash. It will help to form a seal over your teeth that will make them less sensitive and protect them from exposure to cold.
At Smile Care Family and Cosmetic Dentistry, we realize the importance of taking good care of your teeth every day in order to keep them healthy in the long term. We offer a complete range of preventative, restorative, and cosmetic treatments in a family-friendly environment. Contact us today to schedule your next appointment.