Winter has well and truly arrived! As we head into the cooler months we need to remember how to help keep our lips, cheeks, teeth and gums healthy and happy!
We may not realize that the colder season and all that comes with it can be very harsh on our teeth. Below are our Top 6 Tips to help keep your oral health in tip-top condition while you battle the winter chills!
1. Dry and chapped Lips – this is a common issue in winter! You must not forget to protect your lips as exposure to cold wind and high UV from overcast conditions can damage the delicate skin on your face. Wearing a daily lip balm with minimum SPF 15 and also drinking plenty of water to hydrate your skin can help save your lips this winter.
2. Tooth sensitivity – While we try to rug up and stay warm this winter, our teeth feel the cold too! Cold temperatures and wind could leave your teeth feeling sore, more so if you already experience tooth sensitivity. Apart from avoiding the cold altogether, using a sensitive toothpaste can help to ease the pain.
Tip – try applying Sensodyne or Colgate Prorelief tooth paste directly onto the sensitive teeth either during the day or before bed.
3. Stay Hydrated – As mentioned before, we need to keep hydrated to protect our lips, but also our teeth! During Winter we may increase the amount of hot drinks we consume. These include: hot teas, hot coffee and hot chocolate! We tend to sip these drinks as great winter warmers, but beware the sugar that may be in your cup or mug!
Drinking plenty of water throughout the day can help rinse the sugar and acid off of your teeth, and will help keep your natural protective saliva flowing!
4. Hairline Fractures – Feeling cold? Chattering teeth and tight jaws? The cold wind combined with any existing cracks in your teeth can make teeth very uncomfortable, or even send a tooth over the edge (see our post on cracked teeth). If your teeth are tender to bite on and you suspect a crack in one of your teeth, let us know before it gets worse!
5. Boost Your Immune System – Getting a cold in winter is very common, and we often don’t think about the effect it has on our teeth! While being crook, we often take cough syrups, warm lemon drinks, orange juice, sugary soothers and lozenges. Not to mention stomach acid becoming an issue if you get the vomiting bug (unpleasant yes we know!).
While we should be boosting our immune system all year round, don’t forget to pay extra attention in winter to try and avoid getting sick. The reliefs we take to help ease a cold are often sugary or acidic which can promote cavities and decay. Stomach acid from vomiting or reflux can damage the enamel of your teeth, making them weak and brittle. Finally, when we are feeling unwell we tend to neglect our teeth more as you don’t want to leave your warm bed. To help fight the flu, brushing and flossing daily can go a long way in fighting bacteria that can make a sore throat or a blocked nose worse!
Tip - Don’t forget - once you are well again, throw out your old toothbrush and change to a new one as an old toothbrush can harbor nasty bacteria and viruses on it, especially when you’ve been sick!
6. Get a Checkup – Staying indoors in winter is very tempting, but don’t forget your regular 6-monthly check up and cleans! Your regular checkups can help you get ready for winter by making sure your mouth is in top condition!
We hope to see you soon! Until then take care and stay warm this winter.
Dr. Chee and the team at Gateway Dental Health