Have you noticed increased tooth pain and sensitivity when the weather gets colder? You’re not alone – winter can be a tough time for teeth! Dr. Terry J. Preece, dentist in Anchorage, AK, knows this very well. He’s here to help with some tooth care tips that make your smile happier throughout the months of rain and snow!
Most of the dental problems experienced in winter come down to tooth sensitivity. If you have sensitive teeth, for any number of reasons, you’re likely to feel pain when breathing cold air, or while drinking warm beverages. You might not notice the sensitivity as much during the rest of the year, but it can be hard to ignore when the temperature drops down low.
Even perfectly healthy teeth can hurt from breathing cold air. When you breathe in the cold air, it causes your teeth to contract slightly. Then, once your mouth is closed, they will expand again. These small changes can cause discomfort and irritation at the moment, and eventually cause hairline cracks in the teeth with repeated exposure to extreme temperatures.
If you have sensitive or painful areas on the teeth or gums already, the cold air will be even more painful upon contact. This is especially true of any exposed roots, receding gums, or cracked teeth. Anchorage dentist Dr. Preece advises that the cold weather can reveal dental problems that might otherwise go unnoticed. It can, therefore, be a good thing to experience cold weather tooth pain!
The easiest way to warm up is usually a hot beverage, and many people find this very effective at relieving tooth pain. If your pain continues or worsens when the liquid hits your teeth, though, you should let your dentist know. This can be a sign of significantly eroded enamel, worn down crowns or bridges, old fillings that don’t fit anymore, cavities, or infection, among other concerns.
If you’ve recently undergone cosmetic dentistry in Anchorage, AK, you might be experiencing more pain or sensitivity than usual. Recent procedures, including veneer application and teeth whitening, can leave teeth temporarily sensitive or painful. You may want to schedule such treatments during warm weather, although that isn’t always an option in some areas!
There’s one more surprise pain point that tends to worsen in winter – the jaw. Those who already struggled with TMJ or improper bites may find that their jaw and chin area ache more in cold weather. This is because people have a tendency to clench their teeth and jaw when they are cold or shivering. This can exacerbate TMJ, and contribute to enamel erosion or tooth pain due to increased pressure.
So, what is the solution when you’re experiencing cold weather tooth pain? First, be sure to see your dentist regularly – twice a year, no matter what. This will allow them to catch any concerns early, and prevent further damage. Next, as mentioned above, try to schedule teeth whitening during warmer weather. When you’re out in the cold, though, your best option might be to just breathe through your nose as much as possible.
If your teeth can handle warm drinks, they’re a great way to feel better quickly. The ideal choice is hot water or tea with no added sugar. You can also start using toothpaste and mouthwash designed to reduce sensitivity. Look for options with fluoride, which will help protect your teeth and enamel. You should also floss regularly to keep gums healthy, so they don’t recede and expose any sensitive areas of tooth, gum, or root.