The holidays are over, but the chilly winter weather is still going strong. Sledding, skating and snowmen are among the most enjoyable winter hobbies. While winter can bring grins, the frigid temps tend to trigger mouth problems.
Much like a snowflake, each person’s set of teeth is unique. Some are sensitive to cold air, while others get dry mouth. If your smile is prone to winter woes, you don’t have to feel like you’re trapped in a snow globe!
Here’s how to deal with common winter tooth troubles:
Tooth Sensitivity: Sensitive teeth are common during the chillier months. The problem is usually due to exposed dentin, making teeth more vulnerable to pain. Winter staples such as hot drinks and cold air can further aggravate tender teeth.
Try This: Breathing in the crisp air can make teeth even more sensitive. If you’re outside, try breathing through your nose and out through your mouth. Your lips, tongue and cheek will keep your chattering teeth insulated. If you’re craving a hot beverage, enjoy it through a straw to minimize teeth contact. Call your dentist if your tooth sensitivity continues.
Dry Mouth: Winter seems to be the season we all come down with colds. When you have a cold your nose is stuffed up, forcing you to breathe through your mouth. Excessive mouth breathing creates a dry mouth. And, a dry mouth can increase your chance of developing dental decay and other mouth infections.
Try This: Drink water regularly and chew sugarless gum to keep your mouth moist. You should also try limiting your caffeine intake. Caffeine acts as a diuretic, causing the body to lose water and thus contributing to dry mouth. If you experience dry mouth year-round, make an appointment with your dentist.
Lack of Vitamin D: Extreme temperatures can keep us stuck inside. With less outdoor time, you’re decreasing your daily dose of vitamin D. Vitamin D plays a crucial role in keeping your teeth and bones healthy. Exposure to sunlight enables the body to produce vitamin D.
Try This: If the dreary winter weather is hindering your natural dose of vitamin D, increase the amount of vitamin D rich foods in your diet, such as fatty fish, egg yolks and fortified cereals, or consider taking a vitamin D supplement.
Enjoy these last months of winter, and keep up with your oral health routine for a smile that sparkles like snow!