With our first “Arctic Blast” set to hit Dallas-Ft.Worth later this week, we wanted to suggest some ways to avoid extra tooth sensitivity this winter season.  Cold winter air and hot or cold drinks can trigger toothache and misery, but there are many things you can do to treat teeth that are sensitive.

Even though some tooth sensitivity can be temporary, it’s best to visit your dentist as soon as you experience any discomfort, as they will be able to tell you whether your tooth pain is the result of a cavity or an exposed root, or whether it’s simply due to worn tooth enamel. You may not need to do anything more than switch to a special toothpaste for sensitive teeth for a few weeks, but in the event that the tooth sensitivity is being caused by an infection, a cracked tooth or decay, it’s always good to find out sooner rather than later.

The Cause of Tooth Sensitivity

To help you avoid tooth sensitivity and dental pain this winter, we have put together a handy list of common causes and solutions to avoid extra sensitivity.

  • Receding Gum Lines. Your gums protect the roots of your teeth, if they start to recede you will likely experience some pain when drinking hot or cold beverages, or even when breathing frigid winter air.
  • Aggressive Brushing. Brushing aggressively can hurt teeth more than it helps them. Brushing roughly breaks down the enamel coating on your teeth and makes them more sensitive to the elements.
  • Grinding Your Teeth. Many people grind their teeth in their sleep. Grinding your teeth is another common cause of enamel break down. When enamel weakens, sensitivity is inevitable.
  • Loose Cavities or Fillings. Sometimes teeth feel sensitive because a cavity or a loose filling has exposed a nerve. If the nerve of a tooth is exposed, things like hot or cold drinks and sticky foods, can get down in the tooth and send shooting pain throughout the mouth. You want to make sure that you are visiting Dr. Pott’s regularly so that we can help you avoid any unnecessary pain.

Stop The Pain! Here are some suggestions.

There are lots of simple ways to help relieve some of that nagging tooth pain. We can discuss your options and suggest some at-home solutions:

  • Use a Soft Toothbrush. This is an easy one. Get a soft-bristled toothbrush and try brushing very gently for two minutes twice a day. It may not feel like much, but you will be doing your teeth a huge favor.
  • Floss. Add flossing to your daily tooth care routine. Flossing stimulates your gums and help prevent them from receding.
  • Use Fluoride. You can opt to have it added as part of your regular dental cleaning, but you can also buy a bottle and just brush it onto your teeth after you have finished your regular brushing.
  • Use Mouthwash. You can also try a mouthwash that contains fluoride. Simply rinse your mouth with it 2-3 times a day to build up a protective coating on your teeth. We have a variety of mouthwashes specifically designed for your unique dental care needs.
  • Use Different Toothpaste. Some people’s teeth are just more sensitive to regular toothpaste. Try using a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth like Sensodyne. We’d be happy to suggest a toothpaste that is right for you.
  • Wear a Night Guard. If you grind your teeth, a custom made night guard will protect your teeth during your sleep.
  • Keep Your Teeth Warm. When you’re out in the cold air, you need to take care of yourself. You know the importance of protecting your hair and skin from the sun, and you protect the rest of your body from the cold. Do the same for your teeth. Wear a scarf over your mouth when you are outdoors and breath through your nose. This will help warm the air you are breathing and keep the cold air from getting to your teeth and causing microscopic cracks.
  • Avoid Acidic Beverages.  If you suffer from tooth sensitivity, try cutting out acidic and sugary food and drinks from your diet as these can all trigger pain, as well as cause tooth decay. This goes for wine, fizzy drinks and yogurt too. Acid softens tooth enamel so it’s best not to brush your teeth straight after drinking something acidic. You’re better off drinking a glass of milk or water to balance the acid levels in your mouth, and if you do decide to drink something that’s acidic make sure you use a straw, as this will keep the liquid away from your teeth.

Tooth sensitivity shouldn’t mean misery over the winter break. Just remember to contact us at the first sign of discomfort.