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5 Reasons Your Teeth May Be More Sensitive in Winter

5 Reasons Your Teeth May Be More Sensitive in Winter

Sensitive teeth are a common problem that can cause a lot of discomfort. For many people, the winter months are a time of increased sensitivity — and increasingly painful symptoms.

At 2K Dental, our team helps patients treat sensitive teeth with preventive treatments focused on keeping their teeth and gums healthy. In this post, learn five reasons why the winter months can be especially trying for anyone dealing with sensitive teeth.

1. Cold air

Many people with sensitive teeth find their symptoms are worse when exposed to cold temperatures, and that includes the cold air of winter. Cold air causes your teeth to contract, causing pressures that can sometimes lead to pain.

If you have gum disease or untreated cavities, cold air can quickly irritate exposed nerve endings, making symptoms worse. Cold-related sensitivity is also common among people with metal amalgam fillings since metal responds to changes in temperature very quickly.

You can’t change the weather, and chances are you can’t avoid going outside all winter long. Instead, consider wearing a scarf that can quickly be pulled over your mouth to shield your teeth from frigid air.

2. Hot beverages

Hot beverages are a wintertime staple, helping warm you up while chasing away those winter blues. Cocoa, hot tea, and coffee drinks are all great ways to feel warm inside and out, but unfortunately, they can all increase tooth sensitivity, too.

That’s because the hot temperature from your drink quickly warms up the outer layers of your teeth, causing expansion in your teeth that allows more of that warmth to reach the tooth nerves. Consider letting hot beverages cool a bit before drinking, or sip slowly to allow your teeth time to adjust.

3. Dry air

Winter air isn’t just cold — it’s also dry, and that’s true whether you’re indoors or outdoors. Dry air means it’s easier to become dehydrated, and that leads to less saliva production.

Saliva plays an important role in keeping germs at bay and keeping your teeth in a moist environment. If your mouth is dry, you could be more prone to sensitivity issues.

To stay hydrated and keep your mouth moist, carry a water bottle with you, and keep caffeinated beverages and alcohol to a minimum. Chewing sugar-free gum can help, too.

4. Sinus problems

Wintertime is also a time when respiratory infections become more common, including infections that affect your sinuses, including colds, flu, and sinusitis. Because you have sinuses behind your cheeks and nose, pain and inflammation in your sinuses can be felt in your teeth, too.

In fact, many people with sinus infections or inflammation experience extra sensitivity in their teeth. Here, the solution is simple: See a doctor to treat the underlying infection, and your tooth sensitivity should clear up, too.

5. Sweet treats

Wintertime is holiday time for most of us, and that means sweet treats are especially plentiful. All that extra sugar isn’t just bad for our waistlines — it’s bad for our teeth, too.

That’s because the bacteria that cause tooth decay love sugar as much as we do. When we consume sugary foods, bacteria grow and multiply, and as they do, they release acids that eat away at tooth enamel.

Over time, acid erosion increases your risk of tooth decay, and it also makes your teeth more sensitive. If you must indulge, rinse well with warm water afterward to neutralize acids and remove sugars that would otherwise cling to your teeth.

Don’t ignore tooth sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity isn’t always a sign of a serious problem, but it can be. Grinding habits, tiny cracks, untreated cavities, infections, and gum disease can all cause extra sensitivity during the cold months of winter and all year round. 

To decrease your risk of tooth sensitivity, it’s important to have dental checkups twice a year to make sure your teeth and gums stay healthy and sound. To schedule your exam or to find out what’s causing your tooth sensitivity, request an appointment online or over the phone at our locations in Parma, Akron, Cuyahoga Falls, and Cleveland, Ohio, today.

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