As the winter holidays approach, you are probably taking steps to stay warm and safe at home and on the go. Cold weather affects everything, including your teeth. Below are some ways the winter months can affect your oral health, and what you can do to take care of your smile this season.
Risk of Dry Mouth
Dry, cold weather and lack of adequate hydration can cause the mouth to stop producing as much as saliva. This in turn impacts your oral health because saliva dilutes foods with high acidity, washes away sugars and food residue, and adds calcium and other minerals to your teeth. Similarly, when you have a cold, your nasal passages close, leaving you with one remaining airway and speeding up the dehydration process as you breathe through your mouth to compensate. In order to keep your teeth healthy as possible, remember to keep drinking enough fluids. You can also create more saliva by chewing sugar-free gum.
Higher Cavity Risk
Starting with Halloween in October, and ending with Valentine’s Day in February, winter is decidedly Sugar Season. Our office tends to see an influx of cavities in the spring, and we suspect that holiday cookie swaps, chocolate stocking presents, and cake-laden office parties have a hand in it. With all this said, be extra mindful to brush and floss during this time of year, and steer clear of sweets as much as you can.
Extra Tooth Sensitivity
The drop from warm temperatures to colder temperatures can add pressure to the nerves beneath the tooth’s surface, causing increased sensitivity. If you are going outside in cold weather, place a layer of clothing such as a scarf over your mouth to help assist the transition. If you notice that your teeth are extra-sensitive at this time of year, you might consider using a toothpaste formulated for sensitive teeth until warm weather arrives.
Keep Your Smile Merry and Bright–Stop by our Charleston Dentist Office!
Through all the ups and downs you may experience this winter, make sure to head in for a biannual checkup. Our Charleston SC dentists will keep your smile radiant and white for all the holiday pictures and parties you attend, and clean up all the sugars and plaque that may accumulate! To request an appointment with us, click here.