Colds and flu aren’t the only things that are common in winter. Dental problems can also come to light during winter months for many reasons.
Here’s several ways the cold weather can impact your oral health, and how to minimize or avoid that impact.
Dry mouth, cavities and toothaches
It’s not just the usual suspects of sugary drinks and comfort foods that can speed up the formation of cavities. We also have dry mouths when it’s cold as forced air heating tends to greatly dry out our living environments. Saliva helps a lot in neutralizing acids so a dry mouth is problematic. Try chewing sugar-free ADA approved gum or sucking on sugar-free lozenges. Sip water regularly during your day. Swish and drink water after drinking tea, coffee, hot cocoa, and soups or stews.
If you or the kids have clogged sinuses a sinus rinse could help remedy that so you’re not breathing through your mouth as much. Mouth breathing really increases dry mouth, which in turn lowers the mouth’s resistance to infections.
Brush at least 2-3 times a day. This cleans your teeth and gums so cavity causing bacteria are in smaller quantities. Mouthrinses can also help kill off many viruses and bacteria before they make you sick.
Chapped lips and sores
Don’t lick your lips when it’s dry. Always apply lip balm or petroleum jelly before you go out in the cold to avoid or treat chapped lips.
Avoid cold sores by managing stress and washing your hands frequently.
Be careful when you brush your teeth because overzealous brushing can cause canker sores inside the mouth. If you already have one, it can be painful. Gargle with warm water, salt (and even baking soda) to gently neutralize the bacteria and clean the healing sores. Virgin coconut oil has also been shown to help heal mouth sores fast.
First, consult your dentist to make sure the pain isn’t from a cracked tooth or a cavity your dentist can fix. If it’s not, you can find relief from toothpaste made for sensitive teeth. This type of toothpaste can help seal the tubules that get exposed at or near the gumline that make tooth sensitivity a problem.
Keep in mind that we are still limited in our appointments due to the ongoing pandemic so book your appointments early. You may consider getting dental sealants for young patients to help lessen the chance that those hard to brush grooves on the tops of our back teeth break down from all the sweet treats we face during the holidays! Please remember to keep up with the recommendation to have a tooth cleaning and exam every 6 months to catch problems early.
About Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan
Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan has specialized in pediatric dentistry and orthodontics since 1968. Our family-friendly and newly renovated office gives patients and families a more comfortable and consistent experience with dentistry from the very beginning. Our pediatric dentists treat children from newborn to 18 years of age while our orthodontists provide care for both children and adults and are proud to be Premier Providers of Invisalign and Invisalign Teen services. We have the ability to treat all patients with compassion and individuality, including those that may have special needs as we have treatment rooms available for children who require additional privacy and customized care options. We pioneered valued hospital affiliations to allow dental services to be performed at DMC Children’s Hospital and St. John Macomb Hospital, when appropriate or necessary, and our specialists are also proud to be on staff at Henry Ford and Beaumont hospitals.