As the weather gets colder and the days get shorter, some people begin to experience more sensitivity and pain in their teeth. You might assume that the winter weather won’t impact your dental health, but the truth is that changing temperatures can affect all parts of your anatomy, including your teeth!
At WhiteWing Dental, our La Feria dentists know that dental health is important all year round. Read on to learn some interesting ways that cold weather can affect your teeth, as well as how best to protect your dental health during the winter months.
How the Cold Weather Can Hurt Your Teeth
1. Cracks From Extreme Cold
Have you ever wondered why sidewalks are scored into separate slabs rather than formed in a long sheet of concrete? Have you ever wondered how those heavy slabs get cracked? The answer is that when the temperature changes, substances like cement expand and contract, leading to cracking. The same process can lead to serious dental damage.
Coming inside from the extreme cold can lead your teeth to expand quickly, causing cracks in your enamel. When the enamel is cracked, the sensitive dentin layer beneath may become exposed, adding to wintertime dental sensitivity.
2. Extra Wear From the Holidays
For most of us, the holidays aren’t complete without eating loads of sugary snacks and desserts. Unfortunately, all of that sugary goodness can lead to additional wear and tear on your teeth.
More sugar in your diet means a greater risk of both gum disease and enamel erosion.
However, this doesn’t mean that you should be brushing more aggressively. One common misconception is that brushing more will help combat the effects of sugar. Overly aggressive brushing can also lead to enamel erosion and dentin exposure. Instead, be sure to drink plenty of water, limit your snacking, and brush and floss regularly.
3. Colds and Flu
Another cause of wintertime dental pain and sensitivity actually has nothing to do with your dental health. During the winter, colds and flu are far more common, and those colds can cause your sinuses to become inflamed and irritated. This irritation, in turn, can put pressure on the nerves in your mouth, also contributing to cold-weather pain and sensitivity.
Colds also tend to lead to closed nasal passages, meaning most of your breathing will be forced through your mouth. This can lead to dry mouth, which itself can add to your risk of bacterial infection. The cold temperatures in the air only add to the problem. To avoid these issues, stay hydrated and chew sugarless gum to add back moisture.
4. Cold Sores
The winter is prime time for cold sores. Drastic temperature changes and the inflammation your body is likely to experience as a result can both add to the risk of cold sores. To combat this issue, be sure to protect your lips with chapstick.
Hand-washing is also essential to avoiding cold sores, while also protecting you from colds and viruses.
5. Sensitive Teeth
Finally, you might have noticed a theme running through these issues: dental sensitivity. During the winter, moving from the cold outside to warm inside can lead to more than just cracks. This temperature change can put added strain on the nerves beneath the surface of your teeth.
To avoid the painful dental sensitivity and pressure described above, be sure to protect your mouth when spending time in the cold. Wear a scarf over your mouth, and switch to a toothpaste for sensitive teeth, if the issue persists.
Protect Your Teeth This Winter and All Year Long With WhiteWing Dental
While all of the symptoms described above are normal, you may wish to speak with a dentist in La Feria if the effects persist or get worse. This could be a sign of a serious issue.
This winter, prioritize your dental health by scheduling your regular dental visit. We can help you protect your teeth and keep you smiling bright!