During the colder winter months, we often crave heavier, more comforting foods that might not always be great for dental health. One of the most common problems we see in patients during winter is increased tooth sensitivity. Tooth sensitivity can occur when you eat or drink something very hot or cold, causing a rapid temperature change in the mouth. The temperature change can cause mild tooth discomfort or more substantial pains that can be sharp, stabbing, or more persistent. Usually, tooth sensitivity can be managed successfully.
Managing Tooth Sensitivity
If you suffer from sensitive teeth, consider switching your toothpaste to a brand specially formulated to help reduce tooth sensitivity. The toothpaste needs to be used for several weeks as the effects are cumulative. When brushing your teeth, use a toothbrush with soft bristles and be gentle. You do not need to scrub your teeth hard to get them thoroughly clean, and brushing your teeth too hard can damage your tooth enamel and gums, increasing tooth sensitivity problems. If tooth sensitivity continues, book a checkup so we can make sure an untreated dental problem isn’t causing it. Also, we can provide other treatments that may be useful, such as topical applications of professional strength fluoride to help strengthen your teeth.
Which Foods to Avoid During Winter?
There’s nothing more comforting than sipping on hot chocolate, mulled wine, or a beautifully foaming cappuccino. We tend to increase our intake of these hot beverages during wintertime, but these can stain your teeth. Often these winter drinks contain tannins and pigments that can penetrate tooth enamel. Ideally, rinse your mouth with water afterwards and try to clean your teeth half an hour to an hour after enjoying your drink to help remove more of the pigments.
Pastries, caramels and other sticky treats taste delicious, especially with a warming drink but these sticky foods can become trapped around your teeth for hours afterwards. Even worse, they can be difficult to brush and floss away thoroughly. Try to reduce your consumption of these foods or enjoy them as part of a main meal and be sure to clean your teeth afterwards.
Many people crave sugary foods during the winter months, but harmful bacteria in your mouth feed on these sugars, creating acids that can damage your teeth and gums. These bacteria are in dental plaque, a sticky biofilm that builds up gradually over your teeth soon after brushing and flossing. Regularly cleaning your teeth helps remove most dental plaque, so there are fewer bacteria to feast on sugars. It’s also worth paying attention to when you eat these sugary foods and try to have them as part of a main meal and generally maintain a balanced diet. The more often you eat sugary foods, especially when you snack on them, the greater the risk of damage to your teeth.