Winter is the perfect time of year to snuggle by the fire, enjoy festive meals, and share laughs with loved ones. Ending up in the dentist’s chair is the last thing on anyone’s mind. However, cold weather and some holiday habits may wreak havoc on a person’s teeth. Cavities, cold sores, tooth sensitivity, and oral injuries are all common complaints this time of year. Follow these helpful tips to keep your smile looking and feeling its best during the colder months. Here are some tips for having healthy teeth in the colder months ahead.
Enjoy Holiday Treats in Moderation
Red and green sugar cookies, a steaming mug of hot cocoa, and even a fruitcake may find their way to your dinner table this season. While these are welcome treats to ring in the winter months, they can damage your smile. Sugar is one of the leading causes of tooth decay. All kinds of bacteria love sugar, but too much bacteria can lead to dental caries. No one wants to deal with a painful cavity during Thanksgiving or Christmas. While you don’t have to completely cut out sugary treats, it’s best to enjoy them in moderation.
Switch to a Soft Bristle Toothbrush
Everyone knows the importance of brushing after every meal, but brushing too aggressively may lead to sensitive teeth. Two of the leading causes of tooth sensitivity are receding gums and soft tooth enamel. Both of these issues may make your teeth sensitive to cold, which is why tooth sensitivity is prevalent during the winter months. Brushing with hard bristles can exacerbate the situation. Switching to a soft bristle toothbrush is one way to protect your enamel and gum tissue. People should also consider switching to a toothpaste formulated for sensitive teeth.
Stay Well-Hydrated During Winter
Winter air lacks humidity. As a result, many people complain of dry mouth during the colder months. Without enough saliva to rinse away bacteria, people are more prone to developing bad breath, periodontal disease, and cavities. Staying well-hydrated throughout the day is the best way to combat this situation. Drinking plenty of water will not only make your mouth more comfortable, but it will also help reduce harmful bacteria levels.
Protect Teeth During Play
Indoor sports, such as basketball and ice hockey, are very popular during the colder months. However, all it takes is a single bad throw to chip or knock out a tooth. If this happens, you’ll need to find a local dentist to repair the damage as quickly as possible. Wearing a mouthguard while playing contact sports is the best way to protect players of all ages from oral injuries. Mouthguards are also recommended for those who grind their teeth while they sleep.
Wash Hands Around the Clock
As temperatures begin to plummet, many people experience chapped, cracked lips. Unfortunately, winter weather is also the perfect environment for cold sores. This contagious virus spreads quickly from person to person, and those infected often don’t realize it until they develop a painful cold sore. These sores infect others through close contact. Frequent hand washing can help reduce the spread of the herpes simplex virus, the virus that causes cold sores. It’s also wise to avoid sharing lip balms or kissing someone with an active outbreak.
Staying healthy during winter starts with your mouth. Even as the air grows colder, it’s essential to take proper care of your teeth. Following these easy tips will help keep your smile merry and bright throughout the colder months.