How Winter Affects Your Oral Health

cold tooth illustration

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And here you thought that dry skin, stiff joints, and cold and flu season were the big winter weather health hazards. One additional hazard that doesn’t get nearly the attention of the aforementioned is your mouth.

That’s right, your mouth – and we’re not just talking about chapped lips. This post will take a closer look at how your mouth can be affected by cold weather and what you can do about it.

Common Dental Problems During Cold Weather

Here’s a look at three of the most common dental issues people experience in the winter:

  • Cold-sensitive teeth: Picture this – you’re outdoors on a cold day and take a deep breath of fresh air only to be met with a zing of pain in your teeth. This can occur even if your mouth is in good shape and you follow the recommended oral care routine, however this “zing” can be all the more uncomfortable if you have chipped teeth, minimal tooth enamel, tooth decay or even just sensitive teeth.
  • Dry mouth: Your skin isn’t the only thing that cold weather has a tendency to dry out.

Learn more about what causes dry mouth

  • Tooth cracking/erosions: As a response to cold temperature extremes, teeth have a tendency to contract. This can result in a greater likelihood of them cracking.

How to Prevent Oral Health Problems in the Winter

Oral health care should be a priority year round, but perhaps especially so during the cold winter months. Here’s a look at some tips to help minimize tooth sensitivity, pain and other cold weather mouth issues come winter:

  • Brush and floss: You should be brushing twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and flossing once per day. This helps keep the mouth free of food debris and bacteria, and also helps remove plaque buildup at the gum line. For enhanced brushing and flossing, consider investing in an electric toothbrush and/or a water-jet flosser. You may also want to consider using a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth in the winter if you feel regular discomfort in your teeth.

Tooth sensitivity can be a symptom of over-brushing. Learn more here.

  • Use a fluoride mouthwash: Make sure one of the ingredients in any mouthwash you’re using is fluoride, as this can help seal sensitive teeth and easy discomfort. Rinse your mouth with this mouthwash two to three times per day for best results.
  • Watch what you eat (especially sweets): Anything is OK in moderation, but too much of certain things can be a bad thing. When it comes to your oral health, sweets and sugar-laden foods can help accelerate tooth decay. Acidic foods and drinks are other things to regularly stay away from, as they can accelerate the wear of tooth enamel and lead to sensitivity.
  • See your dentist: There’s a reason why it’s suggested you see your dentist once every six months. In addition to the professional teeth cleaning you’ll receive, your dentist also gives your mouth a full checkup to properly assess its condition. This involves analyzing the gum line, checking on tooth enamel, taking X-rays to inspect the jaw bone and tooth posture, and more.

This winter, focus more on enjoying the season and less time worrying about tooth sensitivity. For more information, contact Caven Dental today.

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