How the Weather Can Affect Oral Health

How the Weather Can Affect Oral Health

Don’t you hate that feeling when your dentist scrapes along your teeth and gum line using his metal scraper? Once he hits a tender spot you just want to scream. That unpleasing feeling is known as a ‘zing’. You can also experience a zing when your teeth are exposed to the chilly outdoor air. Although your teeth are hard and sturdy, that doesn’t mean they’re not vulnerable to extreme temperatures. By nature, teeth are sensitive and porous. But, healthy teeth and gums should ideally be able to handle the bitter cold with very little irritation. Your teeth are naturally accustomed to the temperature of your body. Therefore, when you eat or drink something that’s very cold or hot, they can feel mildly irritated or even cause a great deal of pain.

Things that Irritate Your Teeth

Hot or cold liquids and certain substances can affect your teeth along with other things as well. Breathing in crisp, cold air through your mouth can make your teeth actually contract and come in contact with sensitive areas in your mouth, particularly along your gums. Once your teeth contract from cold air exposure, they’ll expand once you close your mouth. Over time, the contractions and expansions may cause tiny, hairline cracks within your teeth that most people aren’t even aware of. However, once the temperature drops to a certain point you’ll know for sure if you have them because you’ll feel them in the form of pain.

Many times you’ll see young children playing outside in the cold trying to keep warm by tensing up and clenching their jaw. This can cause both the teeth and jaw to erode over time and can cause considerable tooth and/or jaw pain as well.

How to Prevent Tooth Pain in the Cold Air

The easiest way to prevent your teeth from hurting when you’re outside in the cold winter air is to simply breathe through the nose rather than your mouth as much as you can. Cold air has the ability to make your teeth hurt even if you’re just outside for a few minutes. But, when you close your mouth while you’re outside and use your lips to cover your teeth, your saliva will start circulating again and eventually your pain will dissipate. If, however, the dull ache or cold sensation remains longer than a couple of days, it’s likely that your teeth are hurting for another reason other than just cold air exposure.

If you or your child’s teeth are reacting to the cold air much harder than usual, there could be a more serious underlying issue that the colder weather is revealing. Some of these issues may include a number of things such as cavities, cracked teeth, teeth grinding or clenching, bite issues, periodontal disease, receding gums from over-brushing, eroded bridges or crowns, or older fillings that no longer fit.

Sensitive Teeth and Exposed Roots

If you have exposed roots, then you know how sensitive they can be to cold liquids and air. Dental roots are often exposed if you’re regularly brushing too hard or when your gums start to recede. The zings you feel due to exposed roots can be very painful as well as long-lasting.

How to Reduce Tooth Sensitivities

Fighting cold-sensitive teeth is as easy as making good oral hygiene a regular part of your lifestyle. It’s crucial to have dental check-ups every 6 months for best results. Because most insurance companies cover the cost, there’s no excuse to miss a visit. Also, several toothpaste brands have tooth-sensitive alternatives that are specially designed to address tooth sensitivity over time.

Other ways to help reduce the sensitivity of you and your children’s teeth is to use a fluoride mouthwash at least once a day. Mouthwash helps create a protective barrier over the more sensitive areas in your mouth. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and gently brush your teeth rather than too hard. Your enamel will thank you.

Want your children to get the best dental care possible?

Visit as your number one dental source to get real answers about your children’s tooth sensitivity and how to treat their toothaches.

Kids Dental Specialists proudly serves families in the Chino/Chino Hills, CA area. Visit our Appointment page or call us at 909-591-0077 to schedule your next appointment.

Ease Your Child's Fear of the Dentist

Ease Your Child's Fear of the Dentist

Our smiles are one of our most important ways of communicating. They communicate friendly, positive feelings and let people know that we’re happy to see them. Taking care of our teeth is not just important for maintaining our physical health, but for maintaining our smiles and self-confidence about showing them. It’s never too soon to start teaching your child about the importance of good dental hygiene and regular visits to the dentist.

Not taking the time to emotionally prepare a child for regular visits to the dentist can result in a greater likelihood of a negative experience that may cause your child to avoid dental care even into adulthood. Having to meet, and be touched by, a stranger in a foreign environment is enough to cause most young children a degree of anxiety. Add a mask, some scary-looking machines and someone putting gloved fingers in their mouth, and you have all the necessary elements for a potential emotional trauma. However, there are some things that you can do to make sure that your child’s visits to the dentist are positive experiences.

Setting a Positive Example

On your next visit to the dentist, you can take your child along to acclimate them to the sights and sounds of the office. Your being relaxed and smiling during your own visit will send your child a powerful message that a visit to the dentist is nothing to be afraid of. This requires the assistance of another person the child is very comfortable with that could play with them in the waiting room during the rest of your appointment. It’s also a good idea to bring along one of your child’s favorite comfort toys, since it’s an unfamiliar environment.

Role Playing

One of best ways to prepare young children for any kind of new experience role playing because children learn most new skills by copying what they see. Choose a good time, such as after the morning tooth brushing ritual, to “play dentist”. Allowing your child to take a turn looking inside your mouth with a small flashlight while will help them feel more in control, while showing them that it isn’t painful for you. You could also demonstrate a dental exam on one of your child’s favorite stuffed animals. It shouldn’t come as a surprise if you discover your child conducting a mock dental exam of their own later.

Educational Videos

There are also some great cartoons and real-life videos like this one that you can use to show your child what a visit to the dentist is actually like. There are several available for just about any age group. Watching educational videos like these with your child provides them a visual preview of the experience. It also has the added benefit of helping your child associate a visit to the dentist with relaxation, positive interaction, and laughter.

The Right Dentist

It’s very important that the dentist you select for your child’s first visit is one that has extensive experience in working with young children. Just as children can sense your own emotional state regarding a visit to the dentist, they can also sense when someone isn’t comfortable around them. Kids Dental Specialists has just that kind of experience. We believe that one of the benefits of starting young is the opportunity for them to benefit from preventive care such as regular cleanings and sealants to avoid cavities and gum disease that sometimes require painful procedures. One of our goals is to help you make sure that your child’s first visit to the dentist ends with a smile, so that their smile can last a lifetime.