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Experiencing Toothaches from Winter Weather?

As you’re walking outside this winter, do you ever feel a cringing pain in your teeth from the cold air? Not only can the cold cause dry skin, it can also cause some tooth sensitivity, especially if you already struggle with sensitive teeth. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, approximately 40 million Americans have sensitive teeth. This causes many people to avoid foods that are either very cold or very hot, such as ice-cream or soup. So, why does tooth sensitivity occur?

The bulk of your teeth are composed of dentin, which is covered but your enamel on the outside, your gums, and also by cementum on the roots. Inside the dentin is a lot of nerve endings, so once dentin is exposed your nerves respond painfully to hot and cold!

Numerous factors can cause your dentin to become exposed, take a look:

  • Periodontal disease: Gum disease is a common cause of tooth sensitivity. Over time if plaque builds up on your teeth, your gums can become inflamed leading to gingivitis. If not treated, periodontal disease can arise which leads to gum recession and exposed roots and dentin. Be sure to keep up with regular brushing twice a day, flossing, rinsing, and dental check-ups to ensure that your gums stay healthy.
  • Improper brushing techniques: It’s true, there is a science to brushing! Brushing aggressively can cause your enamel to wear down and eventually expose your nerve endings within dentin. Make sure you have a soft bristled tooth brush and that you are brushing toward the gum line lightly to remove bacteria within your gum pockets. 
  • Teeth clenching and grinding:  Someone may have told you that you grind your teeth at night, or you may notice that you’re clenching your teeth throughout the day. Clenching and grinding can cause your enamel to wear down and also cause headaches and cracks within your teeth. Let your dentist know if you are clenching or grinding and treatment options such as a night guard can be discussed.
  • Tooth decay: If you begin experiencing cold sensitivity on a regular basis, it is important to let your dentist know because it could be a sign of tooth decay. Tooth decay and fillings that have cracked can cause exposure of dentin and result in tooth sensitivity.
  • Tooth whitening/dental treatment: Sometime bleaching agents and recent dental procedures such as fillings and crowns can cause temporary sensitivity. Be sure to let your dentist know when you begin experiencing sensitivity.
  • Acidic diet: Foods and beverages with high acid content, including sodas, coffee, juice, pickles, etc., can cause enamel erosion and exposure of dentin.
To help your winter go smoothly, when going outside try breathing through your nose as much as possible so that the cold air has less contact with your teeth. Make sure that you are bundled up when going outside. Fluoride rinses and toothpastes geared to help with sensitivity can also help decrease your pain to cold. Your dentist may recommend root canal treatment if the pulp inside the tooth is infected, or a procedure to cover your root surfaces to help improve gum recession.

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Aliand their newest addition to the team, Dr. Zarah Ali, if you have any thoughts or concerns. Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist Dr. VanDr. Emadis happy to help with your orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other periodontal or oral surgery needs, Dr. Ghaziwould be more than willing to help.

The caring team at Wellesley Dental Groupwill be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.comto set up an appointment and consultation.

References:

https://www.guardiandirect.com/resources/articles/winter-and-sensitive-teeth

https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/conditions/tooth-sensitivity/what-causes-sensitive-teeth-0714

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