Do your teeth hurt more during the winter months? Many culprits can be to blame, including the cold weather, seasonal snacks, and seasonal illness. Shaun Alex, DDS, with District Cosmetic Dental in Washington, D.C., explores some reasons why your teeth may be more sensitive in the winter and what you can do to prevent pain and discomfort.
1. Extreme cold
Your teeth will naturally expand in hot temperatures and contract in cold temperatures, so coming inside from the freezing cold can trigger this process. This can lead to cracks in your teeth, which can expose the dentin, the sensitive layer underneath your dental enamel. Your dentin is covered in nerve fibers that are sensitive to cold, and that’s why you may experience more discomfort and pain during the winter months.
When your teeth are in excellent condition, your teeth are less likely to crack, so make sure you come in for routine checkups to prevent tooth decay or enamel erosion.
2. Sugary treats
With the winter comes the holiday season, where sweet treats and festive food are the order of the day. Extra sugar means an increased risk of gum disease and enamel erosion, both of which can cause your teeth to be more sensitive.
Help to protect your teeth by drinking water after you eat, and avoid eating hard candy, which can cause your teeth to chip or crack and expose your sensitive dentin.
3. Home whitening treatments
You want to look your best for parties and family events, so whitening your teeth at home may seem like a great idea. The problem lies in the whitening solutions, many of which contain harsh chemicals that can strip the enamel from your teeth and expose the dentin beneath.
It’s always best to have your teeth whitened under the guidance of Dr. Alex at District Cosmetic Dental. Dr. Alex will whiten your teeth to your preferred shade without putting your teeth and gums at risk.
4. Seasonal illnesses
The pain and sensitivity you experience in your teeth may not have a dental cause. In the winter, you’re more susceptible to colds, sinus infections, and the flu, because your immune system is weakened, and germs are in abundance.
If your sinuses become inflamed and irritated due to nasal congestion or an infection, this can put pressure on your dental nerves can cause pain and sensitivity.
5. Aggressive brushing
When you know you’re eating more sugar than usual, you may be tempted to brush your teeth harder to keep them clean. The problem is that aggressive brushing can do more harm than good, because it can wear away your enamel and expose the sensitive dentin beneath.
Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to gently and slowly brush your teeth. You should also floss and use a mouth rinse regularly. If you’re unsure of what type of brush you should use, ask Dr. Alex the next time you’re in his dental chair.
If you’re concerned about sensitive teeth and want to make sure you don’t suffer with pain and discomfort this winter, book an appointment online or over the phone with District Cosmetic Dental today.