Winter and Teeth Sensitivity

Many people develop sensitive teeth as the years pass, and some seem to be prone to it even from their younger years. A number of factors can cause sensitive teeth that ache when exposed to cold drinks, hot coffee or sweet treats. If your teeth are naturally sensitive to heat and cold, you may find the problem is worse in winter, when cold temperatures and outdoor activities conspire to keep you in constant discomfort.

Causes of Sensitive Teeth

A number of factors can contribute to tooth sensitivity:

  • Normal wear-and-tear on enamel

  • Receding gums

  • Tooth decay at the gum line

  • Cracked or broken teeth

  • Plaque buildup

  • Dental products such as whitening products, rinses or harsh toothpastes

Why It’s Worse in the Winter

Unfortunately, there’s no effective way to escape the cold air that is normally taken into the mouth when breathing and talking. Frigid air that flows over the teeth and gums can cause constant discomfort in one or more teeth. Fortunately, a number of techniques can help to reduce pain and discomfort that often becomes worse during the winter months.

Tips to Reduce Sensitivity in the Winter

  • Use a sensitivity toothpaste daily – Consumers can find a number of toothpastes on the shelves that contain ingredients that help to reduce tooth sensitivity to cold and heat. You can try several of these to find the right one for your needs.

  • Ask your dentist about a fluoride treatment – Your dentist can apply a fluoride sealant to your teeth to strengthen the enamel and reduce sensitivity.

  • Seal exposed areas around receding gums – Your dentist or periodontist can apply special sealers around exposed root areas to reduce tooth sensitivity in cold weather.

  • Avoid over-brushing your teeth – Brushing your teeth too vigorously can expose root areas below the gums and cause teeth to become more sensitive. Brush gently and continue to floss as usual to reduce sensitivity yet still provide good hygiene for your teeth.

  • Eliminate acidic foods from your diet – Foods such as fruit juice, vinegar salad dressing and wine are highly acidic and can increase discomfort in sensitive teeth. Avoiding these during the cold months can help to reduce winter discomfort.

  • Wearing a scarf around your nose and mouth can help to reduce the amount of cold air you breath in that can irritate sensitive teeth.

If you take the proper measures to protect your teeth, you can get through the winter months without constant tooth and gum discomfort.

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The content on this page is for informational and educational purposes only and does not constitute professional medical advice. Patients should not use the information presented on this page for diagnosing a health-related issue or disease. Before taking any medication or supplements, patients should always consult a physician or qualified healthcare professional for medical advice or information about whether a drug is safe, appropriate or effective.