We all know winter is cold and flu season. However, winter can also negatively impact your oral health. We’ve listed some tips for maintaining a healthy smile this winter.
Less humidity combined with indoor heating systems that blow dry air can dehydrate your body. While the cold weather may not make you particularly thirsty, always remember to drink water. In addition to keeping your gums, lips and teeth moist, drinking water will maintain your saliva production, which is important in washing away food debris and bacteria, as well as neutralizing harmful acids that bacteria produce.
Keeping hydrated will also prevent your lips from becoming cracked and chapped. If your lips do become chapped in the winter, you can use petroleum jelly or lip balm. Using lip balm with SPF will protect your lips from harmful UV radiation.
Cold Sores and Canker Sores
Both cold sores and canker sores may be triggered and aggravated by colder weather. To help prevent outbreaks use lip balm or moisturizer. Also minimize touching your lips and mouth.
If you have sensitive teeth, they may become more sensitive in cold weather. Sensitivity to cold can occur when breathing in cold air, and sensitivity to heat can be triggered when drinking hot beverages – like tea and coffee – to warm up. If your teeth become more sensitive in the winter, you can brush with toothpaste specifically designed to reduce sensitivity, like Sensodyne.
Infections are more prevalent and easily spread in the winter. Infections can irritate your gums, causing inflammation or swelling. Wash your hands frequently, and avoid touching your mouth and face to help prevent catching an infection. Also remember to maintain your oral hygiene routine, brushing and flossing after meals, and using mouth wash.
Winter Sports and Activities
For many, winter is a great time to stay active. We have many patients that enjoy skiing, ice skating, sledding and other activities. Remember to protect your teeth. Using a mouthguard can help prevent injuries that can lead to costly dental care.