While the temperatures outside continue to fall, you may be enjoying the cozy warmth of your living room fireplace or grumbling and wondering, “Why isn’t it spring yet?” Until you begin to see the first blooms of the season, you’ll need to do everything you can to not only protect your hands and feet from the cold but also keep your smile secure against winter mouth issues. Here are three simple ways you can safeguard your pearly whites in the meantime.
Drinking lots of water may not sound like the best way to stay warm, but it is the most effective method for preventing dry mouth. Your salivary glands may not work quite as well as they should, especially if you’re taking medicine to combat a cold or the flu. When feeling congested, you’ll find you breathe more through your mouth, causing your chances of developing dry mouth to significantly increase.
Normally, your salivary glands will work to flush out any bacteria or harmful particles that try to cause tooth decay, cavities, or gum disease. However, when there is a lack of production, you often need something to kickstart the process. This is why drinking plenty of water is necessary during these cold winter months.
This might sound like a no-brainer when the temperatures are below freezing, but it’s essential if you want to avoid the potential for painful jaw joints. When the body becomes cold, you may notice that you begin to clench your teeth and tighten your facial muscles. If you already suffer from temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), a lack of warmth can make the situation much worse.
Should you need to venture outside, make sure you’re wearing a warm scarf and appropriate winter clothing (i.e., coat, gloves, hat, boots, etc.). All of these items work together to keep your body protected from the cold. When you minimize the impact the temperature has on you, the less likely you’ll clench and tighten your jaw joints.
Be Mindful of Sensitive Teeth
Sensitive teeth are a common problem during the winter months. The moment you breathe in the cold air, you may notice a sharp pain that radiates through your mouth. Even attempting to consume your favorite hot beverage may cause immense discomfort or pain.
The reason sensitivity occurs is due to a breakdown of natural tooth enamel. Once it is lost, you cannot get it back, so should you experience this uncomfortable feeling while battling the outdoors, make sure you’re brushing with a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth. It should also maintain fluoride to help strengthen existing enamel and combat tooth decay.
Whether winter is your favorite time of year or not, make sure you’re following these simple steps to keep your teeth protected, so you can show off your healthy, beautiful smile come springtime.
About the Author
Dr. Mariliza LaCap and the team at Washington Dental Associates want to help you combat the cold. Providing helpful tips and advice to keep your mouth safe from the dropped temperatures, she will also encourage you to keep your regular checkup and cleaning appointment to ensure your smile is ready for spring. If you are suffering from sensitivity, dry mouth, chapped lips, or TMJ, contact us at (201) 453-4863.