Can Cold Weather Make Your Teeth Hurt?
Do your teeth feel extra sensitive as the temperature begins to drop? Or do you ever experience a sudden, sharp flash of pain? You’re not imagining it, and you’re not alone. If you’ve ever wondered if cold weather can make your teeth hurt, the answer is: YES. This is a common problem for many in the winter. In today’s post, we’ll take a look at why teeth hurt in cold weather and what you can do to protect your mouth.
Why Teeth Hurt in Winter Weather
Contraction and expansion
Exposure to temperature extremes through cold air and hot foods can take a toll on the teeth. In fact, your front teeth may be exposed to a 120 degree difference in temperature in a short amount of time. Think about drinking a hot cup of coffee outside when the temperature is freezing.
As with any material, your teeth expand and contract as they experience a change in temperature, which can cause tiny cracks to develop. These cracks usually don’t cause damage to the tooth structure, but they can cause pain or sensitivity. The pain may be worse with amalgam fillings because metal expands and contracts more rapidly.
Dentin is a hard, light yellow layer of tissue directly underneath your enamel (the outer layer of your tooth). When the enamel is worn away or your gums are receding, the dentin becomes exposed. Without the enamel to protect your tooth, the nerves are more exposed to the winter elements, which can cause sharp pain or sensitivity.
In other cases, the pain may be an indication of a more serious condition, such as tooth decay. Cavities can increase sensitivity to cold, especially if the infection has reached the pulp, which is the soft center of your tooth where the nerve is located.
How to Alleviate the Pain
- Talk to your dentist, first and foremost. An exam and a fresh set of x-rays will help your dentist determine what’s causing the pain so the necessary treatment can be prescribed.
- Switch toothpaste. In some cases, switching to special sensitive toothpaste may be all you need. Or, your dentist may paint a varnish onto your teeth to protect them from sensitivity.
- Breathe through your nose when you’re outside to avoid direct exposure to the elements.
- Brush and floss regularly to fight tooth decay and gum disease.
- Avoid whitening treatments and acidic foods, which can worsen sensitivity.
Give us a Call
If tooth pain or sensitivity in cold weather is a problem for you, schedule an appointment with us. We can determine the root cause of your in order to know how to best treat it. Let our holistic practitioners at Prescott Dentistry help you so that you can enjoy the winter without pain!