How Weather Can Affect Teeth and Oral Health (via @njdotcom)

17 Mar


Spring is on the horizon, or at least, we hope it is. When the months of frigid cold are finally behind us, we can look forward to warming temperatures, allergy season and hot, humid weather. These seasonal changes have an effect on more than our comfort. The weather–from icy cold to uncomfortably hot–also can affect our teeth, and so can allergy season.

If you’ve ever inhaled icy winter air through your mouth and felt an ache in your teeth, you have experienced tooth sensitivity. I spoke to Dr. Keith Libou, chief clinical officer at Delta Dental of New Jersey, who told me why this happens.

“Sensitivity to temperature could be caused by several factors,” said Dr. Libou. “These include microscopic fractures or larger cracks in the teeth; cavities; a thin or weakened enamel, and gum shrinkage. Sensitivity may also sometimes be caused by fillings, crowns or bridges that have eroded over time and don’t fit anymore.”

“Our lips, cheeks and tongue help to insulate our teeth, so taking care to breathe through your nose can help during extreme weather conditions,” he said. “Using a fluoride mouthwash and toothpaste formulated for sensitive teeth also may help to create a protective barrier. In addition, keeping up on good oral hygiene and visiting your dentist regularly are important in reducing the factors that cause weakened enamel or microscopic cracks.”

I also asked Dr. Libou about seasonal allergies, which are said to produce discomfort in our mouths.

“Allergies cause our sinuses to swell due to congestion,” he explained. “Swollen sinuses can put pressure on the roots of the teeth, causing pain. Most often, that pain is in the upper back teeth. Treating the sinus infection can relieve that pressure and pain.”

Dr. Libou recommends that you visit a dentist to determine the cause of tooth pain. “Your dentist can rule out a tooth infection, and recommend any dental treatment needed.”



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