Las Vegas receives lots of visitors during the winter months, as the cold temperatures drive Americans to visit warmer climates. The frigid weather and shorter, darker days are both physically and mentally tough on U.S. residents living in colder regions.
Interestingly, the cold weather can have a detrimental effect on teeth, causing pain and sensitivity. This article talks about the connection between cool or cold weather and our teeth and what you can do to counteract these effects.
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), tooth sensitivity can be caused by worn tooth enamel or fillings, cracks in the teeth, or exposed roots that come from receding gums. When teeth get older the enamel wears away, which can expose the dentin or the bony tissue underneath the enamel. That’s where all the nerves lie. When cold air hits the nerves, it can cause the short, sharp pain of sensitive teeth.
Sensitive teeth are a common but very treatable problem found most often in adults. Hot or cold foods or beverages like ice cream or hot coffee can trigger the hypersensitivity. Even excessively aggressive brushing of the teeth can trigger sensitivities. If this is the case, switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne can help. However, if the pain persists, it’s time to contact Dr. Hadley for a checkup to find out if something else is wrong.
Sensodyne can also help when the icy winds of winter hurt your teeth. Another remedy is to inhale through the nose and out of the mouth. That lets the gums, tongue, and teeth naturally insulate against the cold. Since they don’t make mittens for our front teeth, these are two ways to help prevent cold sensitivity.
Temperature Change Effects on Teeth
Breathing cold air through the mouth can actually cause your teeth to contract and expand in reaction to the temperature. That’s when the dentin layer under the enamel will cause issues. The dentin is actually made up of tiny fluid tubes. These tubes can contract and expand at different times from the enamel, which puts stress on the teeth. Tiny, invisible to the eye cracks can even form in the enamel. When that fluid expands and contracts from contact with the cold, it irritates the nerves in the tooth.
Dry Air Hurts Teeth
In the desert, the nights can get quite cold. But during the winter season, it is excessively dry. It’s also cold and flu season and a time when many people have stuffed up noses and dry coughs. Having a dry mouth can actually increase your chances of tooth decay. That’s because saliva is the body’s natural way of washing teeth in between brushing. It’s a good idea to increase your fluid intake during the cold and flu season.
Another issue related to the cold is that we naturally clench our jaws against the cold. This can add stress to the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which can cause teeth and jaw pain.
If the cold Las Vegas nights or hot or cold foods are bothering your teeth, please don’t hesitate to call Dr. Hadley and his team. We’re here to help!