Here in Toronto, Old Man Winter is particularly angry this year. And after a few years of relatively mild temperatures, many of us around here forgot what the frigidity can do to us – especially so to our teeth. If you are feeling increased tooth sensitivity in the cold air, there may be a few reasons for that.
The cold air outside causes teeth to contract in size, then the warm air inside you mouth causes them to expand again. The dentin (the second layer of the tooth) expands and contracts faster than the top layer of enamel. The stress it causes can lead to micro cracking. You can’t see the cracks, but you may feel them in terms of increased tooth sensitivity.
Clenching can cause tooth sensitivity
When you picture yourself freezing your face off out there, you can probably see your jaw clenched and your teeth chattering together. That extra stress on your teeth, gums and jaw can lead to temporary mouth pain and tooth sensitivity. Over a sustained cold snap your teeth might be overly sensitive on a more regular basis, but nothing a warm front can’t solve.
Sinus pressure can cause tooth sensitivity as well
Sinus issues are the worst. The extra mucus your nose produces in the winter thickens in the sinus cavity and causes pressure. With your sinuses so close to your mouth, that pressure can be felt in the teeth. In fact, teeth sensitivity in the winter can be a pre-cursor to a sinus infection.
So how do you combat winter tooth sensitivity?
Simple. Go to Florida for the season.
But if you can’t, try this:
- Breathe through your nose as much as you can
- Be extra diligent about brushing, flossing and rinsing
- Think about a night guard
- Make an appointment to see us if your tooth sensitivity persists