For some, winter is one of the best times of the year. It comes with cozy fires, hot drinks and warm layers. But for others, cold weather means winter mouth issues like dental pain and cracked, chapped lips. If you deal with oral problems when cold temperatures hit, keep reading. Here is a list of some of the most common mouth troubles that come with the winter months and how to manage them.
Painful, Sensitive Teeth
Cold winds and body-warming drinks can wreak havoc on sensitive teeth. Dental sensitivity is typically a result of worn-down enamel, a fractured or chipped tooth, decay or roots that have been exposed due to receding gums. The good news is that a desensitizing toothpaste can help. With frequent use, it can block pain signals to your tooth’s nerve, preventing the effects of extreme temperatures. Another option is to use a fluoride toothpaste. This product helps to strengthen weakened or diminished enamel and reduce the risk of tooth decay and sensitivity.
Dry, Cracked Lips
Chapped lips can occur at any time throughout the year, but they’re especially a problem during the winter. Your lips don’t have oil glands, so cold temperatures can cause this sensitive skin to peel and develop deep, painful cracks. Luckily, there is an easy way to remedy this problem. Drinking plenty of water and keeping your body hydrated will help to replenish any moisture the cold temperatures might pull from your skin. Oftentimes, sports drinks are a go-to option to rehydrate, but really, they should be avoided. These sugar-filled beverages will only add to your dental issues. A humidifier is another great option. It keeps moisture circulating and helps your skin retain water.
Canker Sores Troubles
These tiny oral ulcers can make it very painful and difficult to eat or speak. They can form on your tongue, gums and on the inside of your cheek or lip. Canker sores can be caused by eating high acidity foods like citrus fruit or drinking spice-filled beverages like hot apple cider. You can battle these sores by mixing one teaspoon of salt and a half-cup of warm water and swishing it around in your mouth for about 15-30 seconds. This helps clean the area and encourage healing process. One study found that dabbing a bit of manuka honey on your canker sore can help reduce the size of canker sores and any pain they cause.
If a cold has caused you to primarily breathe through your mouth or certain medications have caused your mouth to feel moistureless and dry, you are all too familiar with the feeling of cottonmouth. During winter months, cold air pulls moisture from your skin, so it can intensify your symptoms. Dry mouth gives harmful bacteria on your teeth the perfect environment to produce acids that eat away at your enamel and form cavities. You can fight this problem by staying hydrated and drinking plenty of water every day.
Your winter oral care routine is the key to protecting your mouth. If any of these cold-weather mouth problems have been bothering you, schedule a visit with your dentist in Montgomery to find out what else you can do to relieve your symptoms.
About the Author
Dr. Geoffrey Iverson has been transforming smiles in Montgomery since 1981. He earned his DDS degree from the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry where he received the Academy of General Dentistry Service award. Dr. Iverson’s professional memberships include the American Dental Association, the Minnesota Dental Association and more. If you’re experiencing dental troubles this season, contact the office at (507) 364-7424 or visit the website to schedule an appointment.