How to

26 June 2017

The Effect of Cold Weather on Your Teeth

Tooth sensitivity is something that a lot of us are familiar with. It’s common in a lot of people and those of us who suffer from it are always welcoming of any chance to reduce the feelings of pain it causes.

It’s well known that drinking cold drinks can irritate this sensitivity, but so too can cold weather. The winter months are a particularly difficult time to go outside for anyone, and suffering from this dental problem can sometimes make that time of year unbearable.

The reason it’s such an issue is because when teeth are exposed to the cold air they contract. As this happens, cold air is able touch exposed sensitive areas and produce an uncomfortable feeling in our mouths. When we close them, our teeth return to normal body temperature and expand once again.

The repetition of this cycle eventually causes micro-fractures due to the dentin – the second layer of tissue on the tooth – expanding and contracting a lot faster than the enamel.

This is not the only problem affecting tooth sensitivity.

The presence of cold weather can also lead us to clench our jaws to try and keep warm. It’s something that many of us do subconsciously, but it can actually have a harmful impact on our mouths by causing jaw and tooth erosion which in turn leads to uncomfortable pain.

If pain persists or worsens in the cold weather, it can be indicative of more serious dental problems, including cracked teeth, infection, cavities and gum recession.

To try and fight back against the discomfort brought on by the cold, there are a number of things that can be done. When outside, breathe in through your nose rather than your mouth to avoid exposing your teeth to the drop in temperature. For pain that is being worsened by existing problems, checking in with your dentist semi-annually should help to identify and deal with what’s causing the issues.

Other tips for improving dental health include using sensitive toothpaste and fluoride mouthwash, and to brush your teeth gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush. This should reduce the risk of gum recession and the loss of enamel, both of which can make it easier for the cold weather to impact sensitive teeth.

James Darvill

James is a passionate scriptwriter and reluctant poet with a talent for the dystopian. When he’s not staying up late watching the Simpsons he’s beating the world at Mario Kart, always with a glass of wine in hand.