It’s always important to take good care of your teeth, no matter the season. However, when winter comes, the lower temperatures, biting winds, and drier climate can contribute to some common complications (e.g. cold sores, chapped lips, dry mouth, and tooth sensitivity).
Like other oral health issues, there are some things you can do to protect yourself until the weather turns. To give your teeth and gums a little extra protection this winter, try out these tooth care tips. Winter needs a few changes to adapt to the colder weather, and those adjustments extend to your teeth too. Use these tips to help your teeth out, and get a little more comfort until spring in the bargain.
- Schedule a winter dental appointment – Your dentist will usually tell you to visit at least twice a year. Think about having that dental check-up during winter. It can be a great way to start or end your dental year, as well as a way to get a head start on taking proper care of your teeth.
One great way to protect your teeth is to visit the dentist as soon as winter hits. A dentist can help identify potential problems (including missed cavities, canker sores, and sensitive teeth) and give you the right treatment. After the examination and treatment, you can also get some general advice to help you stay in good oral health until it’s time to visit again.
- Ease up on the hot cocoa – Hot chocolate is a must-have for many people during the cold months. After all, it’s a great way to help keep warm, especially when you’re bundled up in front of a roaring fire. However, hot chocolate also contains plenty of sugar, and too much of that good thing can affect your teeth. As a healthier alternative, try opting for sugar-free hot cocoa to minimize the amount of sugar you’ll leave on your teeth. Another thing you can try is tea (which can be a great relief in case of a sore throat).
When you do indulge, mix your hot cocoa with a milk base; the milk has plenty of calcium to strengthen your teeth and counteract the sugar.
- Drink plenty of water – Many people think proper hydration is most important during the summer heat, but it’s still essential in winter. When you turn up the heat in your home, the air often gets dry and can dry out your mouth (especially when you’re sleeping).
Drinking water comes with plenty of benefits, including doing your oral health plenty of good. Drinking water rinses your mouth and removes some of the acids, sugars, and food particles that can cause bacterial growth. This keeps your mouth much healthier. Being hydrated also helps your body produce more saliva, which is great for helping your mouth stay well-rinsed all day long.
Make water your drink of choice this winter to help stay healthy in every way.
- Wash your hands often – In winter, it’s more important than ever to stay vigilant against disease and infection. Infections can be spread more easily in the colder months, which can cause oral complications. Wash your hands frequently to kill any germs that could start an infection to protect yourself. Winter flu can also be a common occurrence; regular hand-washing is key to destroying the virus and minimizing your risk.
While you’re at it, remember to keep up with your daily routine of brushing and flossing twice a day. Use mouthwash on top of your routine to help kill any remaining germs in your mouth. If you do get sick, replace your toothbrush after you get better. This measure ensures you don’t carry any viruses or bacteria back to your mouth as soon as you’ve recovered.
- Brush softly – Sometimes, it may be necessary to switch up how you brush your teeth. Changing how you brush can provide some relief if you have a problem with sensitive teeth. Switch to a soft-bristled toothbrush to protect your enamel and make brushing less painful. Try brushing more gently as well, particularly near the gums. You can also use a desensitizing toothpaste. This type of toothpaste is specially designed for sensitive teeth to alleviate some of the pain from brushing.
Another way to protect your enamel is to wait a few minutes after eating, especially if you’ve had something acidic (like coffee). Brushing right away can spread the residue around and expose more of your teeth to the effects of the acid. Waiting a while before brushing can go a long way toward protecting your enamel from damage.
For extra cleanliness, visit your dentist this winter for a dental cleaning; it’s also a great chance to get some advice to help guide you moving forward.
- Use a mouthguard – Planning on doing some fun wintertime activities like skiing or ice-skating? Get yourself a mouthguard to protect your teeth in case of a spill. Athletic mouthguards have plenty of benefits to give you extra protection, especially for the sporty-minded out there. Beginner skiers and snowboarders, in particular, can make use of a mouthguard to minimize damage in case of a fall.
Mouthguards are a great way of protecting the teeth from cracking or being knocked out, as well as safeguarding the soft tissues from harm. It’s also a good idea to wear a mouthguard when going outside for extended periods. The mouthguard can keep you from grinding your teeth too hard and stop them from clacking when it gets too cold. For maximum protection, consider getting a custom mouthguard fitted for your specific oral measurements.
- Remember to bundle up – Your teeth are hard, but there are limits to how durable they are. Temperature fluctuations (like what you’ll experience in winter) can put stress on the teeth and cause hairline fractures. As much as possible, limit your exposure to the cold to minimize damage.
When you do go outside, bundle up tight to protect your teeth. Include a scarf as part of your regular outdoor wear; the scarf can help trap heat your face to keep your jaw and neck warm. If necessary, you can also drape the scarf around your mouth to cover it up. Remember, your winter clothes should provide coverage for all the critical areas on your body to help maximize your heat retention.
Going the extra mile can make a noticeable difference when it comes to your dental health. Brushing and flossing regularly are the bare minimum for keeping your teeth and gums healthy. Put in a little extra effort to help keep your teeth safe, strong, and healthy during winter. Your teeth will thank you for it!
When you’re looking for a reliable, one-stop dental clinic for all your oral health needs, visit Cosmo Dental Centre. We offer a wide range of services and a relaxed office to help you stay calm and centred while you wait.
Call us at (519) 659-2767 or visit our contact page to make an appointment and keep your teeth safe this winter.