If you’ve noticed your teeth becoming particularly sensitive during the winter months, it’s likely down to the cold temperatures. Winter weather can cause the same tooth pain as consuming cold foods or drinks.
During cold spells, your teeth can contract, resulting in tiny fissures in the enamel – the outer, protective surface of your teeth. This exposes the underlying dentin and its nerve fibres, resulting in toothache similar to that caused by gum disease or cavities.
Tooth enamel is the hardest material in your body but it’s not immune from extreme temperatures, and tooth structure is naturally sensitive and porous.
Your teeth are acclimatised to your body temperature, so, when they encounter cold air through an open mouth, they have a tendency to contract. Once your mouth closes, and the temperature inside rises, teeth can then expand. With time, these contractions and expansions can lead to hairline cracks in your teeth, which you may not even realise are there.
Another reason you might get toothache in the winter is that people are inclined to tense up as a mechanism to try to stay warm in cold weather, and this can include clenching the jaw.
You can help to prevent tooth sensitivity in cold weather by breathing through your nose as much as possible when you’re outside.
Importance of Good Oral Hygiene
Tooth sensitivity in cold weather is a bigger threat if you don’t practise good oral hygiene. Inadequate brushing and flossing can cause gum recession, exposing the dentin beneath.
Brush your teeth for a minimum of two minutes twice daily and floss at least once a day to get rid of bits of food a toothbrush can’t reach.
A fluoride toothpaste can remineralize enamel and combat bacteria by making your teeth less vulnerable to acids and sugars.
Check-Ups and Professional Cleaning and Treatments
Even if you have a good at-home dental healthcare routine, you should still get regular check-ups by your dentist and a professional cleaning from a dental hygienist.
One way to combat cold-weather tooth issues is to have your dentist carry out a fluoride application to help lessen the discomfort by strengthening your enamel and dentin.
Cold air can hurt your teeth even if the exposure is only for a short time. However, when you close your mouth – covering your teeth with your lips – the discomfort should wear off as saliva resumes circulation in your mouth and flushes away the bacteria that threaten tooth enamel.
If your tooth sensitivity lasts for more than a few days, it’s possible there may be an underlying issue with your teeth, and it’s advisable to get checked out by a dentist.
These problems could include decayed or infected teeth, fillings that have become less effective, crowns that have worn down over time, periodontitis (gum disease), or an incorrect bite function causing teeth grinding.
For further advice on how to help prevent tooth sensitivity during cold weather, contact Lancaster Dental, your Kitchener dental office.