How the Cold Weather Affects Our Teeth
By Buttercup 7 Day Dental 26th May 2017
The weather can be tricky. Living in Scotland means you normally plan for the worst and hope for the best. Unfortunately we normally get dealt the hand of the cold weather and the best we can hope for is that it will be dry cold weather rather than wet cold weather.
We know the weather can play a part in affecting our daily lives and our mindset, so why would our teeth be any different?
Think about it. When a cold gust of wind blows over you what do you do?
You tense up and pull yourself in from the cold. When it’s warm again you relax.
Well our teeth do something similar.
Like any material, our teeth are made up of stuff that expands and contracts with the change in temperature.
Cold air breathed in through the mouth can cause teeth to contract as they are porous and naturally sensitive to changes in temperature.
This not only allows the cold air to touch on the exposed and sensitive areas along the gumline, but can cause hairline cracks in the teeth as it repeatedly contracts and expands.
I think we can all remember a time when we’ve breathed in fresh winter air and felt a pain shoot through a tooth.
These hairline cracks make for a lot of extra discomfort when dealing with extreme temperatures. This discomfort and pain is also called tooth sensitivity.
Unfortunately, tooth sensitivity is only part of the problem when dealing with the unpredictable weather.
Another thing that happens in the cold weather is clenching.
Often because our weather changes so often we don’t always wrap up as much as we should. One second we’re peeling off our coats under the sweltering sun and the next we’re grabbing hats and scarves.
A way that we cope with the cold when we aren’t wrapped up well is by tensing up.
In doing this we not only tense up our body but we also clench our jaws, which, in turn, makes us grind our teeth together.
This clenching can put pressure on the muscles around your jaw, causing pain as well as wearing down the outer layer. This causes sensitivity and tooth erosion.
When winter and spring roll around, a lot of us tend to get sick. Whether it’s allergies, colds or flus, illness does affect our oral health.
Both allergies and illnesses can cause our sinuses to swell due to the congestion. Swollen sinuses put pressure on the roots of teeth, causing some pain.
What Should I Do?
Although you might not be able to prevent these issues from arising,you will now know what to look out for and can try these tips to at least decrease the severity.
Visit the expert
Make sure you don’t miss your regular checkups with the dentist. They are the experts here and can tell you where the issues are and how to fix them.
If you want to be extra vigilant, book in with the dentist at the beginning of colder seasons to double check for tooth sensitivity.
Keep up good oral hygiene
Just keep doing what you’re doing. Remember to brush after meals and floss. If you know your teeth are sensitive, use a soft bristle toothbrush and brush gently to prevent wearing away enamel and damaging your gums.
Breathe through your nose
I know this seems like a strange tip but if you know your teeth are sensitive against the cold weather, try and breathe through your nose to prevent the pain in your teeth.
Change your toothpaste
If you have sensitive teeth or feel that they will get sensitive with the changing weather, try changing your toothpaste and mouthwash.
Drink plenty of water
Try drinking the recommended two liters of water a day — you’ll be amazed at the benefit it brings. It not only keeps your body and mind healthy but it helps your mouth, too.
By drinking more water you keep your teeth and gums moist, which helps produce saliva keeping the bacteria at bay.
Try to relax
Another strange tip but — now you are aware that your body and jaw both tense up in the cold — you can realise you’re doing it and stop.
Adjust your diet
We all know the foods we should avoid for good oral care — acidic foods, sugary drinks and so on.
When it comes to sensitive teeth you should also avoid extremely hot or extremely cold foods as, just like the cold air causing your teeth to expand and contract, hot and cold foods will do the same and cause the exact same sensitivity.
So if you know you suffer from tooth sensitivity, maybe avoid the ice lollies.