The winter season is filled with holidays and cozy nights curled up by a fire, but the colder months can also be filled with health challenges that you may not experience at other times of the year. Your teeth expand and contract in response to extreme heat and cold. Over time, this can lead to cracks in your teeth and increased tooth sensitivity.
Here are seven reasons why your teeth may feel more sensitive during the winter.
Tooth Aches and Increased Sensitivity From Cold Temperatures
The coldest months of the year can bring unexpected changes to your overall health. Experiencing more frequent or intensified tooth sensitivity during the winter months is just as common as experiencing dry skin. The extreme temperature changes your body experiences while moving from indoors to outdoors can magnify any already-present sensitivity issues as your teeth expand and contract when moving from warm to cool temperatures.
The Holidays Can Be Stressful
The holidays are a stressful time of year, and many people may find themselves clenching or grinding their teeth because of additional stresses. Teeth clenching and grinding can wear down your tooth enamel, leading to your teeth being overly sensitive. When you find yourself in a stressful situation, check to see if you are holding any tension in your jaw and correct yourself if you are.
Visiting the Dentist Isn’t Your Top Priority
From planning the perfect holiday meal to helping Santa find that perfect gift for everyone on your list, scheduling a teeth cleaning and exam with your dentist likely isn’t a top priority. That being said, it should be! The end of the year is the perfect time to have your teeth cleaned and examined to ensure you won’t start the new year with undetected dental issues.
Looking our best is something everyone strives for during the holidays. At-home whitening products can brighten your smile and take you from dull and yellow to cheerful and white. However, you should always exercise restraint when whitening your teeth and do so under the care of a trusted dentist. Some whitening strips contain harsh chemicals that can weaken your enamel, causing tooth sensitivity. Always discuss the best teeth whitening treatments for your smile with your dentist.
Pain in the areas around your teeth can also cause tooth sensitivity. For example, you may be more susceptible to colds, flu, and sinus infections. These seasonal illnesses can all contribute to tooth sensitivity because they inflame the maxillary sinus. If you notice your upper front teeth being sensitive in addition to having a head cold, your illness may be causing the sensitivity.
A Surplus of Sugary Sweets
The winter holidays are filled with rich, sugary foods. While these foods may encourage holiday cheer, they also increase your risk of tooth decay. Even small cavities can expose the nerves in your teeth, causing tooth sensitivity. While it’s essential to clean your teeth after devouring a sugary treat, don’t brush immediately. Instead, drink a glass of water or chew sugar-free gum to help remove some of the remaining food and sugar particles.
Your Oral Hygiene Is Lacking
Brushing your teeth is an important way to maintain your oral health and reduce potential sensitivity. Always ensure you’re using a proper brushing technique and that you’re not using too much pressure. Brushing too vigorously won’t make your teeth any cleaner, but it can thin your enamel, which causes pain and sensitivity.
When To See a Dentist About Sensitivity
If you’re experiencing chronic tooth sensitivity that doesn’t go away after a few days, contact your dentist. While wintertime tooth sensitivity is common, it’s not something you have to suffer through. A quick dental exam can determine whether your discomfort is due to gum disease, tooth decay, or other factors.
Regardless of the cause of your sensitivity, Hinsdale Dentistry can help you find a solution. Contact us today to learn how we can help you find relief from seasonal sensitivity.