Cold weather can be harsh. One visit to the windy city of Chicago in the middle of winter will convince you of that fact.
As the air turns colder, even in warmer climates, we put on more layers. We know the effect of cold on our skin. What we may not realize is cold weather also affects our teeth.
Extreme changes in weather cause various parts of our bodies to expand and contract, our teeth included. These changes can cause tiny fissures and cracks to form in our teeth. Though not often visible—or a major health threat—they can cause sensitivity in our teeth.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to protect your teeth this winter. Here is a checklist of the best habits for defending your teeth from cold.
Inhale through your nose
Inhaling through your mouth in the cold allows freezing air to flow past your teeth. This can be a painful experience for many. Breathing through your nose whenever possible reduces the pain sensitive teeth can feel.
It’s just as important to stay hydrated in the winter as it is in the summer. It’s recommended to drink six to eight glasses of water daily to give your body the proper amount of fluids. This will keep your body and brain healthy, as well as your teeth.
Keep your mouth covered while outside
Covering your mouth with a scarf or jacket protects your teeth from the frigid temperatures. These coverings act as insulation, warming the air as it passes through the layers of clothing. However, continue to breathe through your nose even while covering up to give you extra protection.
Protect your teeth with proper oral hygiene
Sensitivity to cold can often be helped at home. Start with using a toothpaste formulated to desensitize teeth. Be sure to use it regularly. Its effects diminish with time.
And go easy on the brushing. Though it doesn’t seem possible, you can brush your teeth too much. Over-brushing can wear down the tooth enamel that protects the teeth. Aim to brush two to three times a day with a soft bristled brush for the best results.
Visit your dentist
If you haven’t had a checkup in a while, you might consider visiting your dentist before cold weather moves in. Your teeth may be sensitive to cold due to cracks or weakened enamel on your teeth. We can give you a thorough exam and recommend the best steps for keeping your teeth protected this winter.
Dr. Mike Malone and his team practice expert cosmetic dentistry in Lafayette, LA. Dr. Malone is the former president and accredited member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is also the official Cosmetic Dentist of the Miss Louisiana USA and Miss Louisiana Teen USA pageants.