Cold Sensitive Teeth? What to Do in the Winter

cold sensitive teethHave you ever experienced cold sensitive teeth in the winter?

Turns out you’re not the only one! Many people find that the cold weather results in their teeth becoming sore.

But why?

In this short post, we are going to explain why people get cold sensitive teeth in the winter and what you can do about it.

Why do I get cold sensitive teeth in the winter?

There are a few main causes that can result in mouth pain during the winter season.

Temperature fluctuation.

Did you know our teeth are exposed to extreme temperature changes every single day? The coffee we have for breakfast can be as hot as 180 degrees F while our late night ice cream is below 10 degrees F. That’s 170 degrees F difference in temperature that our teeth can experience in such a short space of time.

Our teeth may be tough but they certainly are not indestructible. Like most materials, they will expand and contract based on the temperature of the environment they are exposed to.

This constant shifting can actually cause extremely small cracks in your teeth that can lead to cold sensitive teeth.

In the winter our teeth experience the same sensation more regularly. Our mouth is usually (when we’re not eating ice cream) a warm and safe environment that teeth become accustomed to. When the cold weather hits the shock often leads to the pain some of you are experiencing.

Many people tend to subconsciously clench their jaw or allow their teeth to chatter in cold weather – something to look out for to keep the pain away.

Enamel erosion.

Cold sensitive teeth may actually be your body giving you a sign that something is going on with your teeth.

When enamel is worn away it can expose nerves. These nerves reacting are the main causes for having the sensation of sensitive teeth.

Nerves are especially sensitive to very hot and very cold temperatures, although in extreme cases even an individual’s breath can cause irritation.

Enamel erosion can occur due to a wide range of factors:

  • Improper dental hygiene.
  • Brushing too hard, especially with a hard bristled brush.
  • Tooth decay.
  • Diet.
  • Age.

Allergies and congestion.

“What do my allergies and blocked nose have to do with my cold sensitive teeth?”

You may be surprised to discover that many people actually mistake excess sinus pressure caused by congestion as toothaches.

Whether it’s an allergy, common cold or full blown sinus infection the painful swelling of the nasal cavity and throat can often imitate the same feeling as tooth pain.

With these symptoms being more prevalent in the colder months it is often an overlooked cause for people having cold sensitive teeth in the winter.

Exposed roots and faulty fillings.

Just like with enamel erosion, sore teeth may actually be a symptom of a more serious dental problem.

Fillings, dentures, bridges and teeth themselves can shift over time due to grinding, gum disease and decay which can lead to exposed roots and cold sensitive teeth.

These fixtures have been put in to protect vulnerable parts of your teeth so when they become loose or misaligned it can cause a lot of pain when the cold air hits them.

What can I do to help my cold sensitive teeth in the winter?

Here are some of our suggestions you can take to fight back against cold sensitive teeth.

Maintain proper dental hygiene.

We know you might be tired of hearing that you need to brush your teeth twice a day and floss regularly but we’re dentists after all! The reason we always come back to this is because it’s better to prevent problems before they occur and maintaining proper dental hygiene is your best bet to do so.

Proper dental hygiene is more than just cleaning your teeth, it’s also keeping a close eye on your diet. For more ideas be sure to check out our 9 common dental mistakes that are brutal on your teeth to keep you on the right track.

Change your toothbrush.

Switching to a soft bristle brush may be the best decision you make for your cold sensitive teeth.

Heavy brushing habits combined with a hard-bristled brush can actually cause you to wear away your teeth at an unhealthy rate leading to some of the issues we’ve already mentioned.

Change your toothpaste.

There are a few great specialized kinds of toothpaste on the market that are suitable for treating individuals with cold sensitive teeth.

Potassium-based paste can help desensitize your teeth whereas calcium-based paste can actually help fortify sensitive areas by filling the small cracks that may lead to pain.

Breathe through your nose.

Your lips and cheeks are designed to act as natural insulators for your teeth. By keeping your mouth open to breathe through it in cold temperatures you are leaving your teeth open and exposed to the elements.

This is extremely important for people who regularly exercise or work outside. We suggest putting a scarf over your mouth if you can’t stick to nose breathing to protect those pearly whites.

By taking decongestants, nasal sprays and drinking plenty of water you can help keep your nose unblocked so that you can actually use it!

Visit your dentist.

Ok, so you knew this one was coming… It’s important to regularly check in with the dental experts at least every 6 months so you can keep your teeth as healthy as possible.

We can catch and treat any problems before they become something more serious.

There are a wide range of treatment options available for cold sensitive teeth and we can even apply a protective varnish to keep the pain away.

Doug Lewis Dentistry

We are a cosmetic and family practice based in Birmingham, Alabama. From the state of the art procedures and equipment to our friendly, relaxed atmosphere we strive to exceed your expectations and earn your trust.

If you would be interested in making use of our wide range of services please don’t hesitate to contact us today and schedule an appointment with us. You can even take an office tour before you visit!

Thank you so much for reading this post on cold sensitive teeth. We trust that you found it useful and look forward to hearing from you soon.