Exposing your teeth to cold winter air can be just as painful as consuming hot and cold foods and beverages. Breathing cold air through the mouth can cause teeth and dentin to contract and then expand. This causes stress which can result in cracks forming. These cracks may not be visible and do not compromise the structure of the tooth. But can cause uncomfortable sensitivity. The pain in your teeth is the movement of fluid within the tiny tubes located in the dentin. This results in nerve irritation when exposed.
You could also be clenching your jaw trying to keep warm.
When the tooth enamel is worn down, it becomes thinner and exposes the softer part of your tooth. This tissue lies under the enamel and called the dentine. Exposure of the root of the tooth called the cementum is another cause of sensitivity. Both areas lie close to nerve endings. This is the reason for sensitivity when in contact with hot or cold temperatures.
- Acid Erosion comes from consumption of too much acid like the on in fizzy drinks and citrus fruits.
- Gum Disease which can cause the gums to recede and expose the sensitive root surface.
- Toothbrush abrasion by brushing too hard, from side to side or brushing up and down.
- Where possible review your diet and cut down on the amount of acidic in your food and drink intake.
- Your dentist can show you some tooth brushing techniques that will not damage the enamel. Using fluoride toothpaste brush your teeth twice a day. Use a circular motion with a soft or medium bristle brush. Use a fluoride mouthwash . It is important that you change your toothbrush every 3 months or when the bristles have become worn.
- Regular visits to your dentist can prevent tooth sensitivity.
- Rub sensitive toothpaste onto the affected area. It can take a few days or even a few weeks for this to take effect. It is important that you keep brushing your teeth twice a day in order not to make the problem worse. Don’t brush straight after eating acidic foods as this can soften the enamel.
- Thorough examination of your teeth will determine the root cause of the sensitivity. They may prescribe special fluoride gels, rinses or varnish to help the sensitivity. This is a non-invasive application of gels on the teeth gels. It may take a few visits for it to take effect. Some people need to use specialist sensitive toothpaste on a permanent basis. Treatment may involve sealing or filling the exposed areas that are causing the sensitivity. Other courses of treatment are available for sufferers of gum disease or acid erosion.
Remember you don’t have to suffer from tooth sensitivity this whole winter. Breathing in and out through your nose whenever possible lips, cheek and tongue tend to insulate your teeth from the cold if your mouth is closed. If cold sensation persists or causes an ache or worse, schedule an appointment with us at the first sign of discomfort.