For people who suffer from tooth sensitivity, winter can bring added levels of discomfort. Even if the pain goes away quickly, it is still recommended that you consult a dentist, as it may be a symptom of a more serious issue, such as a cavity or an exposed root.
Over time, patients with sensitive teeth may experience a condition known as gingival recession that results in the root of the teeth being exposed. The root of a tooth has no enamel to protect it and tiny pores that lead to the nerve, which can allow it to feel heat and cold.
10 Tips to Overcome Sensitive Teeth This Winter
The cold weather can bring on a whole host of uncomfortable physical problems such as colds and the flu, but it can also intensify the pain and discomfort of having sensitive teeth. If you are worried about how the cold weather could affect your sensitive teeth, here are some tips on how to fight sensitive teeth and maintain good oral health this winter.
Don't Over Brush
Of all the dental care tips, this is probably the simplest. Excessive brushing strips away enamel and the softer root surface, which can lead to even worse problems over time. That's why it's recommended that you use a toothbrush with soft bristles and a non-abrasive toothpaste.
There are a number of toothpastes on the market that can help to cut down on teeth sensitivity, if not completely eliminate it. When you seek dental care services, ask which toothpaste is recommended, but only after making sure that the sensitivity is not being caused by a more serious underlying issue.
Fluoride treatments may be recommended by your dentist. There are also gels and rinses that can protect against sensitivity and strengthen your enamel, though you should still consult with your dentist about what products you'd best be served using.
Cut Down on Foods with Sugar and Acid
Foods containing acid or sugars can be a source of not only tooth sensitivity, but also cause tooth decay as well. Providers of dental care services recommend cutting down or eliminating foods such as yogurt, sodas and wine. It is also recommended that you avoid brushing after you consume acidic food since the enamel of your teeth will be softened. Drinking beverages such as sodas with a straw can cut down on the risk of your teeth being affected.
Bonded Fillings and Root Canals
Bonded fillings create a barrier around the root of the tooth, which will prevent hot and cold liquids from reaching the tooth. A root canal, meanwhile, is an extreme measure that may be necessary if the nerve of the tooth is dying, though this procedure is rarely used for sensitivity alone.
Stay Hydrated and Avoid Breathing through Your Mouth
One of the best things you can do for your body is to stay hydrated, especially throughout the winter season. Cold weather can dry out the human body very quickly and drinking sufficient amounts of water keeps the mouth moist by creating saliva. Thirst is a good sign of dehydration. Many people do not drink enough water on a daily basis and this can be detrimental to oral health, especially in the winter because it can cause dry mouth.
Dry mouth is a condition characterized by severe halitosis caused by lack of saliva, and it can lead to a series of other dental problems, such as tooth decay. Mouth breathing can also be detrimental to your oral health because, unlike your nose, your mouth does not have an air filtering system in place (i.e. nose hairs) to cleanse the air entering through your lips. This allows all kinds of bacteria to enter through your mouth, which can lead to mouth sores, tooth decay, and other dental care issues.
Sanitize Your Toothbrush
The best way to store your toothbrush is standing upright and uncovered and in any room other than your bathroom. Most people do not realize that fecal matter from the toilet can very easily spread to their toothbrush, or if they do realize it, their solution is to cover their toothbrush by storing it in a plastic sandwich bag. The problem with this, however, is that it keeps the toothbrush moist at all times and constant moisture creates a breeding ground for bacteria on your toothbrush.
Dentists recommend that you replace your toothbrush at least once every three to four months, and if you have been sick, discard the old toothbrush once you are healed and get a new one right away. You can also sanitize your toothbrush by placing it in the microwave once a week for about one minute while it is still damp. The steam will help to kill most of the harmful germs. Also, using a soft-bristle toothbrush will help with the sensitivity.
It is no secret that smoking is a terrible habit that can hinder good dental care and discolour your teeth. However, what most people do not realize is that smoking is also a leading cause of acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis. The symptoms of this condition include: swollen and bleeding gums, pain in the gums, and ulcerations on the gums between the teeth. This is a mixture of the nicotine and the cold weather hitting your teeth. It is advisable for smokers to either cut down on smoking, at least in the winter, or to quit altogether.
Avoid Over-the-Counter Whitening Products
Many teeth whitening products contain strong chemicals that can sometimes worsen the pain and discomfort associated with sensitive teeth. That is why dentists usually recommend that patients with overly sensitive teeth try to steer clear of these products and opt for toothpastes that are specially formulated to combat tooth sensitivity in conjunction with soft bristle toothbrushes. This is, perhaps, the best long-term form of sensitive teeth pain relief.
Visit a Dentist Near You
It is usually recommended that patients visit the dentist a minimum of once every six months. But, for those who suffer from sensitive teeth caused by outlying issues, it might be wise to seek dental care services a little more frequently to ensure that the problems are properly taken care of and do not get worse. Toronto is full of excellent emergency dental clinics that are equipped to handle any dental situation; you simply have to find the best dentist near you to take care of your sensitive teeth and get to the root of the problem. Princeview Dental Group, a local Etobicoke dental clinic located in the Royal York Road and Bloor Street West area, provides emergency care for both new and existing patients during the course of their normal offices hours of coverage.
If sensitivity persists, contact Princeview Dental, a general and emergency dental clinic in Toronto. If caught early, we can provide treatment options for teeth sensitivity that will prevent further issues from arising.
Mahabadi, S., "Fight Sensitive Teeth This Winter," WebDental.com, February 13, 2014; http://www.webdental.com/profiles/blogs/fight-sensitive-teeth-this-winter.