Have you ever noticed that your teeth seem to be more sensitive in the winter and wondered if you were just imagining it? As it turns out, you’re not! People with sensitive teeth really do notice more discomfort in colder weather. That’s because, believe it or not, your teeth actually expand and contract when exposed to extreme temperatures. When this happens, tiny cracks can form in the top enamel layer of your teeth, exposing the dentin layer underneath. When the dentin is exposed, your teeth become sensitive to hot and cold temperatures. If your enamel is eroded, if you have tooth decay or an infected tooth, if you grind your teeth on a regular basis, or if you have gum disease, then your sensitivity is even worse.
Fortunately, there are several treatments that will help to reduce tooth sensitivity:
- Use a toothpaste designed for sensitivity. These toothpastes can often work in a relatively short period of time. Within a week or so of using a sensitivity toothpaste twice a day, you should notice a difference.
- Ask your dentist about a fluoride application. This natural mineral helps to strengthen the enamel layer on your teeth, and that reduces the amount of exposed dentin. That, in turn, will help to reduce sensitivity.
- Because receding gums can also cause increased sensitivity, ask your dentist about dental sealants. A sealant can help to cover exposed root surfaces of your teeth, which will reduce sensitivity.
- Wear a mouth guard while you’re sleeping. If you habitually grind your teeth at night, you can actually wear down your teeth over time, which will increase tooth sensitivity. A mouth guard will help protect your teeth from wear due to tooth grinding.
- Have your dental problems fixed by your dentist. If your sensitivity is due to tooth decay or an infected tooth, your dentist can resolve the issue. Not only will this reduce your sensitivity; you’ll also avoid the pain caused by an infected tooth, and you’ll be in better oral health as a result.
- Avoid using tooth whitening products too often. Whitening solutions can make teeth even more sensitive. Although that increased sensitivity usually only lasts for a short period of time, if your teeth are sensitive to begin with, using whitening products too often will make it worse.
Winter can be a great time of year to spend time outside. But if you suffer from sensitivity problems, it’s also a great time of year to take precautions. Follow these tips to help resolve the problem, no matter what the weather is like outside!