As the days get shorter and the temperature steadily drops, we instinctively seek to warm up by donning extra layers to stay warm. While we take great care to protect our bodies from the chilly temperatures, we might not give much thought to how winter can affect our oral health. In fact, cold weather can pose unique challenges to our teeth and gums, requiring a bit of extra attention to keep our pearly whites in tip-top shape.
One common condition during wintertime is tooth sensitivity. The combination of cold air and hot drinks can be a recipe for discomfort, especially if you already struggle with sensitive teeth. To combat this, consider using a toothpaste specially designed for sensitive teeth. These toothpaste formulas often contain ingredients that help desensitize the nerves in your teeth, providing relief from the sharp pain that cold air or hot beverages can trigger.
Winter is also a season of indulgence, with holiday treats and festive goodies tempting us at every turn. While it’s perfectly fine to enjoy these delights in moderation, it’s essential to maintain a consistent oral care routine to combat the effects. Frosted cookies, holiday pies, wassail, hot chocolate and other hot drinks contribute to tooth decay and cavities, so be sure to brush your teeth after indulging and floss regularly to remove any lingering food particles. If you can’t brush after eating, opt for sugar-free gum if you’re craving something sweet but want to avoid the potential impact on your smile.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!
Hydration is crucial all year round, but it becomes even more critical during wintertime. Cold weather is dehydrating, and a dry mouth can contribute to various oral health issues, including bad breath and amping up your risk of cavities. Make a conscious effort to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of plain water throughout the day. If you find it challenging to consume cold water during winter, try sipping on warm herbal teas or infusing your water with a splash of natural flavors, like a slice of lemon or cucumber.
Protecting Those Pearly Whites
Safeguarding your mouth during sports is always imperative, whether you are surrounded by winter weather or you are traveling to your favorite winter destination. The biting cold, coupled with high speeds and gusty winds, can pose a threat to your oral health. Wearing a protective mouth guard acts as a shield against the elements and minimizes lacerated or bruised lips and cheeks, and other injuries to your teeth and gums. Whether skiing down snow-covered slopes or gliding across icy rinks, this simple precaution ensures a safe and enjoyable winter sports experience, preserving your oral health.
Protect Your Lips
Whether you are indoors with the heater running or outside braving the elements, your lips can become chapped. Constantly licking them exacerbates the problem as the skin is delicate, and the enzymes in the saliva break down the skin’s protective barrier, leading to more dryness. Keep your lips moisturized with a good-quality lip balm, preferably one with added SPF protection to shield them from the sun. Remember, UV rays are higher at higher altitudes and snow can magnify the strength of UV rays.
See Your Dentist
Maintaining your oral health during the wintertime is worth the effort! Simple adjustments, like using sensitive toothpaste, staying hydrated, wearing a protective mouth guard and being mindful of your winter snacking habits, all go a long way in preserving your pearly whites while you enjoy this festive time of year. Don’t hesitate to reach out to our dedicated dental team if you have any concerns or issues with your smile!