Winter can bring a lot of fun both outside and inside: snow, skiing, hot chocolate, puzzling and much more. The same can be said for our bodies when it comes to winter bringing some attention to what happens on both the inside and outside of our bodies. In fact, when it’s cold outside, exposed skin isn’t the only part of the body that can be affected by the elements; colder temperatures can also affect your oral health. So, while you’re embracing all that comes with the season, remember to pay close attention to your teeth, too.
Be proactive when it comes to preventing common oral health issues, like tooth sensitivity and dry mouth that are often exacerbated during the cold, dry weather. Here are some tooth care tips to help get you through the long, New England winter:
Give your lips some love
Cold winter temperatures can have a significant impact on the delicate skin on your lips; it can dry them out and cause chapped lips. Consider using a daily lip balm that contains SPF to help protect them from the dry weather. Drinking water is a great way to keep your skin hydrated, including the skin on your lips, and boasts the added benefit of alleviating dry mouth symptoms. Since there is less humidity in the air during this chilly period, installing a humidifier in your home is also a solution for adding extra moisture to your environment.
Dry mouth, medically referred to as xerostomia, occurs when salivary glands don’t make sufficient saliva to prevent the drying of the mouth. This condition can be caused by certain types of medication and medical treatments, like radiation and chemotherapy. Dry winter air may worsen this, so be sure to drink water and stay hydrated! Water is also a great mouth cleaner because it washes away leftover food and residue that cavity-causing bacteria love to eat. The cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth love to eat sugar and produce acid that wears away tooth enamel, which is the outer shell of your teeth.
Use Fluoride Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth
If you experience a short, sharp pain in your teeth when trying to enjoy your favorite hot winter beverage, you likely have sensitive teeth. Broken down tooth enamel leaves dentin (the tissue beneath it) exposed. When this part of the tooth comes in contact with hot, cold, or acidic foods and drinks, it can cause pain or discomfort. Cold temperatures, air, and wind can leave your teeth feeling uncomfortable, too. If you incorporate toothpaste for sensitive teeth into your oral hygiene routine, you can strengthen your enamel while soothing the nerves in your dentin to reduce your pain and ease the reactions to hot, cold, sweet, or bitter. The more you use it, the better it works thanks to the ingredients contained in it.
If you’re a New Englander, you probably already know how to successfully bundle up in order to face the wrath of the cold winter months. If you’re a person with TMJ disorder, bundling up and staying warm can help minimize jaw pain. It’s typical for joints and muscles to tense up when experiencing colder weather, so make sure to keep warm with a scarf or sweater to reduce clenching or tightening the jaw area.
While enjoying being with your family, watching or engaging in winter sports, or keeping warm by the fire this winter, remember to take good care of your oral health, too. If you know how to maintain your oral health during colder weather, you’ll reduce the likelihood of experiencing common mouth issues. As always, if you have any questions or concerns when it comes to your oral health, just reach out to us!