If you’ve walked outside during a snowstorm and taken a deep breath through your mouth, you’ve probably felt the very unpleasant toothache that many people experience during the winter months. Similar to when you bite into ice cream, the icy gusts of winter can cause drastic temperature changes in your teeth. And just like with the roads and sidewalks, this temperature change causes expansion and contraction. Tiny cracks can form on the outside of your teeth, and while they aren’t necessarily detrimental to the structure of the tooth, they can definitely cause some discomfort. Metal fillings can also exacerbate the issue, since metal expands and contracts in the cold more than your teeth will.
What can further intensify the painful sensation of cold teeth is a thinner enamel coating. Enamel is what makes up the external cover on your teeth, and over time (especially without proper dental care) the enamel can wear down, exposing the dentin underneath. With your teeth’s nerves more exposed to the cold, the pain is noticeably worse.
Is there anything you can do to make your teeth more resilient? For one, try to breathe through your nose when you’re outside during the winter months - direct contact with the cold air will chill your teeth much more quickly when breathing through your mouth. You should also wear a scarf or a balaclava, which masks the lower half of your face, if you’re outside for extended periods; you can breathe through it if you’re shoveling snow, for example.
Sometimes, using a toothpaste designed for people with sensitive teeth will do the trick. In combination with flossing regularly, this will help ensure your teeth are receiving proper care and may reduce your chance of developing cavities. Cavities increase your sensitivity to temperature and pressure, so if the pain this winter is more serious, visit your dentist for a checkup.
For more information, please contact:
Webster Cosmetic Dentistry, Ltd.
1121 Warren Ave., Downers Grove, IL 60515