When the winter season hits, you might find yourself experiencing more tooth pain than normal. Freezing temperatures and cold air can affect the teeth causing them to become increasingly sensitive. In addition to that, the holiday season brings more starchy and sugary foods that can worsen tooth sensitivity. Read more for some tips on how you can protect your teeth and reduce the risk of uncomfortable tooth pain during the winter.
1. Try Winter-Specific Tools
Toothpaste that is rich in fluoride or is specifically designed for sensitive teeth is a great place to start, since it works extra hard to remove any lingering plaque. Stain removing mouthwash is also perfect for when you have just had your third cup of coffee for the day (thanks to the winter blues). For best results, use it at least twice a day to rinse away debris, kill odor causing bacteria and help protect the sensitive enamel.
2. Know Your Teeth’s Balancing Skills
Though your teeth are frequently under attack, the good news is that this damage is constantly being reversed. Here’s the breakdown of the process: acids leech minerals from the enamel through a process called demineralization. Fortunately, the natural cycle of remineralization replaces those lost minerals and strengthens your teeth all over again, thanks to saliva (which contain minerals such as calcium) playing a crucial role in this process.
3. Limit Your Sugar and Starch Intake
Since holiday season is finally upon us, keep in mind that acids and sugar found in dense, sugar-rich foods have the ability to damage the surface of your teeth and break down delicate enamel. Fluoride, as mentioned above, is another mineral that helps repair weakened enamel. However, replacing lost minerals can only do so much to prevent the effects of sugar on teeth if you eat lots of sweets and starches throughout the day, so be sure to limit your intake of foods rich in sugar and starch.
4. Breathe in Through Your Nose
This might seem like common sense, but breathing through your nose prevents the cold air from hitting your teeth while exhaling through your mouth allows the air from the lungs to keep them warm. Use this tip to prevent or reduce tooth sensitivity and pain.
5. Oolong Tea, Anyone?
Coffee, mulled wine, and hot chocolate should only be taken in moderation to prevent teeth stains and decay. However, light-colored and naturally sugar free beverages such as oolong tea can ease the sensitivity caused by freezing temperatures, especially if you are going to be outside for several hours at a time.
6. Keep Your Toothbrush Clean!
Keeping your toothbrush clean and replacing it every few months reduces your exposure to bacteria that could eventually give way to gingivitis and tooth decay. This should be standard practice throughout the year, but wintertime is a particularly important season for replacing toothbrushes in a timely manner due to a higher incidence of added sugar intake.
7. Keep Those Checkups Coming
Regular visits to your dentist for checkups and routine fluoride treatments will also help to protect your teeth throughout the winter.
8. Mouthguards Save Lives
Wearing a mouthguard when you are going to be outside for long periods of time will prevent you from forcing your teeth together while you work and keep them from knocking into each other if your teeth begin to chatter from the cold.
9. Scarves: A Winter Hack For Sensitive Teeth
In combination with tip 4, wearing a thick wool scarf not only helps to keep your lower jaw and neck warm, it can prevent cold air from entering your mouth even accidentally. No one wants an unwelcome surprise!
For more tips and tricks on how to keep your teeth winter fresh, please contact your local Missoula dentist today!