As the winter sets in, there are a number of ways our senses notice the changing of the seasons – our joints may complain a little more, lips may feel more chapped, and we start pulling out the flannel. But for some of us, even our teeth notice the plunging temperatures.
Many people experience tooth pain due to extreme temperatures, specifically, extreme cold. And like any other material, your teeth are prone to contraction in response to the cold, which can cause discomfort, pain, and even tooth damage. So – what does it mean if the cold weather is making your teeth hurt, and what can you do about it?
Why Do My Teeth Feel So Cold?
Our teeth can be sensitive to extreme temperatures, whether the source is a hot or cold drink, or extremely cold outside air. If gingivitis or another condition has caused gums to recede or the tooth’s enamel to have worn away, the highly sensitive layer beneath the enamel – the dentin- may become exposed to the cold or heat.
Anything that damages the tooth’s enamel can contribute to cold sensitivity in the winter. Undetected or untreated tooth decay is a prime culprit, as is periodontal disease. Some teeth whitening agents include ingredients that begin wearing away enamel, causing pain or sensitivity, as can extremely acidic beverages like sodas and coffee.
Finally, your brushing (or lack thereof) can be a significant factor in cold sensitivity. If you’re brushing too hard, you may be removing more than just stains – your teeth enamel may be taking damage, as well. And of course, not brushing or flossing regularly will lead to receding gums, tartar buildup, staining, and sensitive teeth.
How to Prevent Cold-Related Pain
Thankfully, the solutions for dealing with cold-related teeth issues are similar to other sensitivity problems. A fluoride application may be a simple fix, strengthening your tooth’s enamel. If the tooth damage is caused by teeth grinding or clenching, your dentist might provide a mouth guard specially shaped to fit your bite.
Since its winter time, make sure you’re treating any colds or other bugs you contract quickly – if you’re too congested to breathe through your nose, the inside of your mouth will dry out faster and your teeth will be even more exposed to the frigid air.
And keep in mind, cold sensitivity in winter might have a ‘canary in the coal mine’ effect: the added stimuli might be the early signs of a condition that needs to be addressed.
When It’s Time to See the Dentist
A little sensitivity now and then is normal. But if you’re experiencing persistent or pronounced tooth sensitivity to cold, it’s time to let your dentist take a look. If an underlying condition is the source of your pain, the dentist will be able to assess the situation and determine a course of treatment.
How Dr. Lordo Can Help
Just because it’s winter time, it doesn’t mean you have to put up with painful or sensitive teeth. The professionals here at Dr. Lordo’s office are happy to help. To schedule an evaluation or your first appointment, visit us online or call at 614-885-4754.