Chilly temperatures can make your teeth chatter, for sure, but have they ever caused your teeth to feel a little tingly and sensitive? For those with sensitive teeth, winter’s cold weather and winds can leave teeth feeling sore. Taking a short breath of air can even produce a painful sensation. For anyone who has felt the pain of winter on their teeth, today’s blog is for you.
In general, tooth sensitivity is triggered when eating hot or cold foods. Colder temperatures do the exact same, though is produced when moving from an area with warmer air like an indoor space or a car to one with colder air. The teeth microscopically shrink which adds pressure to the nerves below the surface of the tooth and also pulls teeth away from the gums and any underlying bone.
If this sounds like something you can relate to, don’t fret. Below are a few dentist-approved tips to deal with sensitive teeth in winter.
• Opt for toothpastes formulated for sensitive teeth.
The secret ingredient in toothpaste for sensitive teeth is potassium nitrate. We won’t get into the science of how this works, but essentially what happens is the potassium nitrate blocks nerve pathways that connect the enamel to the tooth’s inner pulp. Fluoride- you know that stuff the dentist paints on your teeth at the end of your cleaning- also helps to protect weak or eroded enamel.
• Gently brush teeth.
The way you approach teeth brushing might contribute to tooth sensitivity. Brushing aggressively actually does very little for your teeth, in fact, if prolonged, it can contribute to erosion of the enamel and receding of gums. One way you can avoid heavy-handed brushing is to change your grip by swapping hands and brush with your non-dominant hand. Whether you have sensitive teeth or not, we recommend brushing in short tooth length strokes to cover all surfaces of the teeth. Another way you can brush gentler and reduce tooth sensitivity is simply by switching to a soft bristled tooth brush during the winter months.
• Bundle up.
Before heading out to the cold, wrap a scarf around your head and mouth to create a barrier between the air and your mouth. This will help reduce the amount of cold air exposed to your teeth.
Cold weather or not, if experience tooth sensitivity when eating cold foods and drinking cold drinks, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist to discuss more serious oral health issues like acid erosion, gum disease or toothbrush abrasion.
We hope this information has been helpful in one way or another and will help you smile more comfortably for the rest of the season.