Dealing With Sensitive Teeth This Winter
There is nothing quite like a crisp winter morning in Colorado. The cold air hits your face and it’s like an instant pick-me-up. Although for some, once they crack a smile to greet the day and that cold air hits their teeth, their good mood is cut short by pain. Tooth sensitivity stems from exposure of the dentin, which is a soft layer underneath the enamel. There are thousands of tiny tubes in the dentin that lead to the inner nerve center of the tooth, called the pulp. Drastic changes in temperature, and sugary or acidic foods are sensed by these tubes and trigger a painful response in the pulp. Winter can be particularly brutal if you have sensitive teeth, but there are a few things that you can do to help get you through the pain and make the most of the season.
Commonly, the dentin is exposed through wear in the enamel, which can be accelerated by using a hard-bristled toothbrush. Switching to a soft-bristled brush can help prevent some of that erosion. Just make sure you are not brushing too hard!
There are many toothpastes out there that are specifically formulated for sensitive teeth. This specific kind of toothpaste helps reduce some of the pain from sensitive teeth by desensitising exposed dentin. It is best to combine this with a soft-bristled tooth brush.
Even if you don’t use a desensitizing toothpaste, make sure you’re not using one that’s too abrasive, because that can also speed wear on your teeth.
Avoid Dramatic Temperature Shifts
Your teeth respond to shifts in temperature with pain. Try not to breathe through your mouth when you’re outside in the cold. And when you come in, wait a while before tucking into that cup of hot cocoa. You might also use care when switching between hot pizza and cold beer while watching the big game this weekend.
Avoid Acidic Food and Drink
Soda wreaks havoc on your body in a myriad of ways, including eroding your teeth. This is because most sodas, especially colas, are very acidic. Highly acidic food and drink can soften the enamel of your teeth, exposing the dentin. If you brush right after eating these types of food, you may actually be brushing away your enamel! If you absolutely cannot avoid acidic food or drink (who can blame you?) we recommend rinsing your mouth out with fluoridated tap water and waiting to allow teeth to remineralize before you brush.
Avoid Teeth Grinding
This is probably easier said than done, especially if you are grinding without realizing it, but avoiding teeth grinding is key if you want to maintain your enamel. Teeth grinding doesn’t just wear down your enamel though, it also increases your risk for small cracks developing in your teeth which will increase your sensitivity to temperature changes.
If you find yourself grinding your teeth during the day, then you should take time for yourself to calm down and take a breather as high stress levels typically result in teeth grinding. If you are more of a nocturnal grinder, then you may want to consider wearing a mouthguard while you sleep. This doesn’t exactly eliminate the behavior, but it will protect your teeth from damage.
Don’t Run From the Cold!
Winter can be absolutely breathtaking in Colorado, plus we have some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the nation. Don’t let sensitive teeth ruin your winter. If you find that your teeth are still in pain after trying some of these tips then you should visit a dentist. Park Meadows Dental Care, located in Centennial, can help you overcome your winter blues. If you would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Kary Berry, or have any questions, please give us a call at (303) 759-5652.