Winter Oral Health Tips
Some friendly advice from our Burton dentists to help you get through the colder months.
Although the weather has been relatively mild recently, there is no denying that there are signs that winter is lurking just around the corner. Earlier evenings and that cold dampness in the air isn’t everyone’s favourite time of the year, and it can certainly bring its fair share of challenges with higher fuel bills, colds and flu and general lowering of mood due to the shortage of sunlight.
What we can’t do, of course, is to stop the seasons, and perhaps it’s as well that we can’t. What we can do though is to make the best of that time until the warmer weather comes round again. Today’s blog will be dedicated to the winter months and your oral health; the impact it can have on your teeth and gums and what you can do about it.
One thing that many people notice as the weather gets colder is that their teeth become more sensitive and uncomfortable when exposed to the cold air. You could address this by wrapping a scarf around your mouth but while this might help with pain relief, it doesn’t really address the problem. The fact is that if your teeth are sensitive to hot and cold, then there is every likelihood that the enamel on them has become eroded, exposing the inner part of the teeth. Sensitive teeth toothpastes can help with this but for a long term solution, the teeth veneers available at our Burton dental practice offer perhaps the best option.
We tend to think that we only get dehydrated in the hot weather but this isn’t true. We lose moisture all year round and making sure that we drink enough fluids is very important for both our general and oral health. Gum disease is a potentially serious problem and at SG Dental and Implant Centre we take this seriously and believe that prevention is better than cure. Make sure that you drink plenty of fluids in the winter months as well as summer and try to avoid too many high sugar drinks. Plain water is your best friend when it comes to your oral health, and is (almost) free too if you get it from the tap.
Increased sugar consumption
The colder weather can make us reach for ‘comfort’ food and drinks to warm us up. It is understandable that we are less attracted to salads and more attracted to ‘stodgy’ foods as these help us to maintain energy to keep us warm. Unfortunately, many of these are also likely to contain high levels of sugar which, as we all know, is bad for our teeth. Even if you succumb to this temptation, do try to keep your sugar intake to a sensible level and remember to make sure that you brush and floss your teeth well on a daily basis.
While cold weather in itself doesn’t necessarily create stress, this time of the year includes Christmas which is a celebration for some but not one without significant challenges. Finding the extra money for Christmas presents, entertaining relatives that you would rather not, amongst other things, can cause stress and this sometimes translates into the grinding of teeth, often while we sleep. Also known as ‘bruxism’, this can cause real damage to the teeth including worn enamel and broken teeth. Try to find time to relax and enjoy the break; your teeth will thank you for it!
Increased alcohol consumption
Winter includes Christmas and the new year, both well known times for celebrating. Inevitably, for many of our Burton patients, that will mean an increase in the amount of alcohol consumed. We have no wish to deprive people of their fun at this time of the year but remember that alcohol consumption can cause a dry mouth and an increased risk of gum disease. Accidents are more likely too and we would rather avoid the need for our patients to seek emergency treatment for this reason once we open after the festive break. Please drink sensibly and stay safe.
If you haven’t already, you may well fall foul of one of the many viruses that lurk around in cold weather. From a simple cold to the flu, these can have a major impact on our teeth and gums. A dry mouth, poor diet, sugary cough medicines and a general lack of energy, resulting in poorer cleaning of the teeth can all contribute to a worsening of our oral health at this time. Do try to drink plenty of fluids if you succumb to a virus, and, no matter how tired and lethargic you feel, make a real effort to brush and floss your teeth as you normally would.
Many people in the UK are deficient in vitamin D due to a lack of sunlight. This is especially the case in the darker and colder months of winter. You may wish to look into a vitamin D supplement as this is an important vitamin and a lack of it can have a negative impact on our teeth and especially our gums.
Hopefully this blog will help you become more aware of the issues that the colder and darker days and nights of winter can bring. As always, we are here to help you with any dental problems that may arise. If you need to make an appointment, whether a general or emergency one, please call SG Dental and Implant Centre on 01283 845345.