When the cold winter hits, your teeth can often feel the pain of the declining temperatures—signaling a potentially more severe issue in your overall oral health. If this sensitivity is a recurring theme for you once the temperatures drop, consult with your dentist on which course of action below is best for you.
Why Teeth Are Sensitive to Cold Weather
If your teeth are sensitive to cold, it’s because your mouth has lost the ability to protect the core of your teeth—known as dentin. The two lines of defense that dentin has are:
- Enamel: an outer layer of your teeth that wears down due to a variety of reasons, like teeth whitening, acidic foods, and teeth grinding.
- Gums: the tissue surrounding your gums that protects the root of your teeth; they recede due to insufficient dental care, bacterial gum infections, even genetics!
When these barriers break down or recede, the exposed dentin weathers the elements on its own. This core has a lot of nerve fibers that take in environmental changes and deliver them to the root of your teeth as pain. So, when the dentin of your teeth experiences a cold winter day, that sharp pain is a signal from your teeth’s nerve fibers telling your mouth that this core is exposed and vulnerable.
How You Can Treat Your Sensitive Teeth
On Your Own:
Several ways to treat enamel decay and gum recession range from making adjustments to your oral care to simple switches to your everyday routine:
- Cut out damaging foods and beverages. Soda, coffee, and highly acidic foods could be the culprit.
- Cool it with the whitening gels and toothpaste. While they make your teeth whiter, they do the job by stripping surface stains—and the enamel with it.
- Change your toothbrush. Sometimes the culprit can be a toothbrush with bristles that are too coarse, or you could brush your teeth too hard and tear down your enamel. If your brush has bristles that go in every direction after you use it, your dentist will recommend that you soften your brushing skills.
- Up your oral health game. Brushing your teeth alone is not enough to ward of enamel decay and gum disease. Floss daily and use mouthwash for added protection for your teeth.
At the Dentist:
Some changes in habit aren’t enough to fix your sensitivity problems. If the issue persists, discuss these options with your dentist:
- Receive a fluoride application. This natural mineral strengthens enamel and prevents sensitivity when applied by your dentist.
- Cover your roots. Dentists can protect your receding gums by applying a sealant to the exposed area.
- Get a mouth guard. If you grind or clench your teeth at night, a mouth guard can protect your teeth from damage.
- Discuss a root canal for more damaged teeth. If there is deep decay, or you have a cracked or chipped tooth, your dentist will perform a root canal as a long-term fix to your oral health.
If simple changes day-to-day don’t relieve your tooth sensitivity this winter, your dentist will steer you in the right direction to solve the problem. In Homer and Barrow, AK, residents have trusted the expert dentists at Preventive Dental Services for over 20 years. This dental clinic leads its practice with a mission to provide high-quality, compassionate care that educates its patients on proper oral health. For more information about their full range of dental care—from teeth cleanings to extractions, implants, crowns, and bridgework, visit their website, and call them today at (907) 235-1286 to book an appointment.