Cold winter air can do some major damage to your hair and skin, but did you know it can also affect your dental health? From preventing sensitivity pain to minimizing bacteria, our Cary dentists are sharing some dental tips for winter months that will keep your smile looking great!
Prevent Sensitive Tooth Pain
If cold drinks or food tend to cause sharp, sudden tooth pain, you may have sensitive teeth. These are caused by dentinal tubules, which contain nerves, that are exposed due to thin enamel. In the winter, even breathing in icy cold air can trigger these pains, so it’s important to care for your teeth in a way that will strengthen enamel and reduce the pain.
- Use a toothpaste for sensitive teeth. Sensitivity toothpastes contain fluoride that strengthens enamel while either desensitizing nerve endings or covering exposed dentinal tubules.
- Use a soft-bristled brush and gently brush your teeth. While it’s important to brush for two full minutes and comprehensively remove plaque and tartar, brushing too hard or using hard bristles can wear away your enamel, leading to sensitivity.
- Avoid foods and beverages high in acidity, including citrus, tomatoes, and sodas.
- Have any areas of decay, cracked or chipped teeth, or worn-down fillings repaired by your dentist.
Drink Plenty of Water This Winter
While so much focus is on staying hydrated in the summer, it’s also important to drink plenty of water in the winter, too. Humidity tends to be low in the winter, and central heat dries out the air indoors, too. This often leads to chapped lips and dry hair that’s static-prone, but it can also affect your teeth.
Saliva is key to rinsing away debris and bacteria, so a dry mouth is more likely to host decay-causing bacteria. Drinking water throughout the day not only helps to keep your mouth rinsed and increases your saliva production, tap water contains enamel-strengthening fluoride.
Minimize Sugary Holiday Foods and Drinks
Pie at Thanksgiving, Christmas cookies, hot chocolate in January, and Valentine’s Day chocolates – sugary comfort foods and drinks are almost constant during the cold months. Unfortunately sugar feeds oral bacteria which gives off an acidic byproduct that eats away enamel, leading to increased sensitivity, cavities, and tooth decay.
While we understand it’s almost impossible to say no to many of these goodies, follow these tips to minimize damage:
- Avoid snacking all day long on sweets so you’re not continually exposing your teeth to sugar.
- Brush your teeth or drink water after eating or drinking sugar;
- Enjoy foods sweetened with xylitol or other sugar alternatives;
Schedule a Cleaning with Your Family Dentist
The most important step you can take to keeping your teeth healthy this winter is to make an appointment for a check-up and cleaning, especially if you’re overdue. Your dentist can spot any issues and treat them if necessary to minimize any sensitivity or stop any cavities that may have been caused by too much holiday sugar. By following the tips above, maintaining your dental health routine, and getting a checkup, you can make sure your teeth stay healthy all winter long.
If you are looking for a dentist in Cary or Holly Springs, we can help. We take a wide variety of insurance plans and are currently accepting new patients. Reach us at our Holly Springs dentist office at (919)-600-6262 and our Cary dentist office at (919) 467-2203. You can also fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment.