Winter takes a toll on our bodies, including our teeth. People who have sensitive teeth are more at risk of pain and problems associated with winter weather. There are some things that you can do that will help protect your teeth and keep you from experiencing pain and discomfort this winter.
Why Winter Hurts our Teeth
You might think that the conditions outside have no influence on the health of our teeth and gums. You would be wrong. Winter weather can cause your teeth to become more brittle, to crack, to become more sensitive, and to have an increased growth of bacteria.
The constant chattering of your teeth when you are cold has the same effect on the teeth as grinding them do. The friction of the teeth rubbing against each other can cause the enamel to be worn away to expose the dentin layer beneath. When this happens, you have pain in your mouth.
How can I protect my teeth in winter?
Care for your Entire Mouth
Brushing your teeth is important but pay attention to gums as well as your teeth. The common germs associated with winter prone diseases like the flu or even the common cold can start an infection in your mouth that can result in gum irritation, damage, inflammation and pain.
Use a toothbrush that has soft bristles and be sure to brush your gums as well as your teeth. If you notice any redness, bleeding, or foul odors make an appointment with your dentist to make sure that no infection or problems have arisen.
Watch what you eat
Avoid acidic foods whenever possible. You might love those oranges and pineapple slices but your teeth do not love the exposure to the acids in those foods. Limit the intake of acidic foods, and brush your teeth after consuming such foods to remove the acid from your teeth and gums.
Take care of your dental hygiene equipment
You know to brush and floss daily to keep your teeth as clean and free from bacteria as possible. You may not know that the toothbrush you use could add to possible bacteria exposure, or even to damages to your gums.
You need to throw out any tooth brush that has stiff bristles. You might feel that the stiff bristles help remove more plaque and such, but those stiff bristles do more damage to your enamel and your gums. Get a soft bristled brush and use it every morning and every night.
Keep that toothbrush clean. Get a toothbrush cover to protect the brush from contaminants in the air. Rinse it thoroughly after each use and replace it every three months.
Drink Plenty of Fluids
You have likely been told to stay hydrated for weight loss, and to keep your body in balance. You may not realize that hydration also plays an important role in the health and care of your teeth.
Moisture is depleted easily in the winter months because of the heating units in our homes, offices and cars. We also tend to reduce the number of fluids we take in during the winter because we are less active and do not feel the same thirst that we do during the summer months.
When the inside of your mouth is dry the bacteria can grow at a faster rate than when the inside of your mouth is kept moist. You also get added protection from fluoride that is included in some drinking waters.
Sugar is Bad for your Teeth
The number one idea that you should take away from this article is to limit sugar intake during the winter months. We are tempted to indulge in endless cups of hot chocolate covered in frothy toppings. We also eat plenty of cookies, cakes and other sugar rich foods during the holidays.
Sugar causes tooth decay. Whenever you can choose food and beverages that contain no sugar. If you do indulge in a sugar laden beverage or snack brush your teeth and rinse the sugar away. Do not go to bed with the sugar from your hot chocolate sitting on your teeth all night.
Wear a scarf
You may not realize that protecting your mouth from the cold winter air will decrease some of the pain and problems during the winter. Keeping your teeth protected from extreme cold conditions like frosty air on your way to work will help protect them from damages.
Take Winter Sports Precautions
Winter sports often result in injuries that damage or break teeth. Hockey, skiing, and ice-skating result in many visits to the dentist each year to repair broken and damaged teeth. You can avoid those dentist office trips by taking the time to wear a mouth guard while you are participating in these sporting events.
For the best protection see your dentist about having an individualized mouthpiece designed for you. The over-the-counter mouth guards provide inadequate protection because they do not fit every mouth perfectly. Go ahead and invest in a guard that is going to be perfect for your mouth.
Make a Dental Appointment
Visit the Dentist Regularly if you want to maintain the best oral health. Your dental visits can help you discover possible problems before they become major points of concern. Your dentist can also evaluate the condition of your teeth and gums and therefore make recommendations on ways you can personally protect your mouth and teeth from damages.
During the cold weather your teeth expand a little. These expansions can cause cracks to form in the enamel of your teeth. Your dentist can recognize the signs of these cracks at their earliest formation and correct them before they can cause any permanent damages that might result in tooth loss or severe decay.
How you care for your teeth will determine how long you have your natural teeth and are pain free. Make your dental hygiene one of the most important things you do every day. Follow the above-mentioned tips and talk to your dentist about other things you can do to stop tooth pain, decay or loss caused by winter foods, weather and conditions.