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5 Reasons Your Teeth May Be More Sensitive in Winter

5 Reasons Your Teeth May Be More Sensitive in Winter

If you feel a zing when drinking hot beverages or taking a spoonful of ice cream, you may have the common problem of sensitive teeth. 

Several factors can contribute to tooth sensitivity, including tooth decay, cracked teeth, worn enamel, deteriorated fillings, gum damage from aggressive brushing, gum recession, and periodontal (gum) disease.

For many people, the winter months are a time of increased sensitivity — and increasingly painful symptoms. Here at Full Circle Dental Care, Samuel Signon, DDS, and a qualified team of dental professionals treat sensitive teeth with preventive treatments that help keep your teeth and gums healthy. 

Read on to learn five reasons why your teeth may feel extra sensitive in the winter months and what you can do to ease any discomfort. 

1. Air temperature

If you have sensitive teeth, cold temperatures can trigger discomfort. This isn’t just cold food. Cold air causes your teeth to contract, causing pressure that can sometimes lead to pain.

Cold air can quickly irritate exposed nerve endings if you have gum disease or untreated cavities. Cold-related sensitivity is also common among people with amalgam fillings since metal responds to changes in temperature very quickly.

You probably can’t avoid going outside all winter long, and you definitely can’t adjust the weather. Instead, consider wearing a scarf that can quickly be pulled over your mouth to shield your teeth from frigid air.

2. Hot foods and beverages

Hot beverages and foods, like soup, are a wintertime go-to. They help warm you up while chasing away those winter blues. Cocoa, hot tea, and coffee drinks are all great ways to feel warm inside and out, but unfortunately, they can all increase tooth sensitivity, too.

The hot temperature from your drink quickly warms up the outer layers of your teeth, causing expansion in your teeth that allows more of that warmth to reach the tooth’s nerve. Consider letting hot beverages cool a bit before drinking, or sip slowly to allow your teeth time to adjust.

3. Air quality

Winter air is dry both indoors and outdoors. And, dry air makes it easier for you to become dehydrated, which leads to less saliva production.

Saliva plays an important role in keeping your teeth in a moist environment and keeping germs at bay. If your mouth is dry, your teeth may feel more sensitive. 

Make hydration a priority in the winter. Carry a water bottle with you and minimize consumption of caffeinated beverages and alcohol. Chewing sugar-free gum can help keep your mouth moist, too.

4. Sinus issues

You’re more likely to contract a respiratory infection in the winter, including colds, flu, and sinusitis, all of which affect your sinuses. Because you have sinuses behind your cheeks and nose, pain and inflammation in your sinuses can be felt in your teeth, too.

Sinus infections or inflammation can cause susceptible people to experience extra sensitivity in their teeth. Here, the solution is simple: See a doctor to treat the underlying infection, and your tooth sensitivity should clear up, too.

5. Holiday treats

Winter holidays mean irresistible sweet treats are plentiful. All that extra sugar isn’t just bad for our waistlines — it’s bad for your teeth, too.

Bacteria that cause tooth decay love sugar, and when you consume sugary foods, they grow and multiply. They also release acids that eat away at tooth enamel.

Over time, acid erosion increases your risk of tooth decay, and it also makes your teeth more sensitive. It’s natural to indulge once in a while, so when you do, rinse well with warm water afterward to neutralize acids and remove sugars that would otherwise cling to your teeth.

Get help for tooth sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity isn’t necessarily the sign of a serious problem, but it can be. Grinding habits, tiny cracks, untreated cavities, infections, and gum disease can all cause extra sensitivity that you may notice more in winter, but they’re actually present year-round.

Schedule an appointment at our office to have your sensitive teeth evaluated. Keep up with regular dental cleanings and check-ups to prevent decay, which can also contribute to sensitivity. 

Call Full Circle Dental Care today to set up your visit, or book online. Your smile’s look and feel will benefit.

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