Ask the dentist: What can I do to avoid my sensitive teeth from hurting in cold weather?

Have you ever wondered why your teeth are more sensitive during the winter months?  If so, you’re not alone. Studies suggest that at least 45 million adults in the United States complain they suffer from teeth sensitivity to cold, heat or other stimuli. The primary reason behind cold sensitivity is exposure of dentin –that portion of the tooth found just below the enamel or root surface. Many factors can contribute to this, including receded gums, worn enamel or vigorous brushing. But good news! There are many simple solutions to help ease the pain during the winter, or for that matter any time you feel sensitivity.

If your teeth are starting to feel extra sensitive, try some of these tips to help you get through the winter months:

  • Rinse with a fluoride mouthwash two to three times per day.  This will assist in sealing the cold-sensitive teeth.
  • Use a soft bristled toothbrush, as well as desensitizing toothpaste and remember to brush gently, as long as the bristle touches the tooth you are cleaning them.
  • Avoid teeth grinding. If you do grind or clench your teeth, be sure to use a mouth guard at night.
  • Maintain good oral hygiene. As always, continue to follow proper brushing and flossing techniques.

If pain persists for more than three or four days, schedule an evaluation with your dentist to determine the extent of your problem. Pain symptoms associated with sensitive teeth can be similar to symptoms associated with a cavity or abscess not yet visible, and only your dentist will be able to determine the proper diagnosis.

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  1. Extreme temperatures can cause serious pain for your teeth, especially if you deal with teeth sensitivity issues. While you can often avoid eating particularly hot foods or drinking icy beverages, you can’t always escape seasonal temperatures. Find out how the cold weather can affect your teeth and what you can do to decrease the pain this winter. A fluoride application: Fluoride is a natural mineral that a dentist can apply to your sensitive teeth. This application strengthens the enamel and thus prevents sensitivity because of exposed dentin. Covering root surfaces: A dentist can apply a sealant to fix problems with receding gums.

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