Why Do I Have Sensitive Teeth When it’s Cold Outside?
Do pumpkin spice lattes, hot cocoa, and chilly weather make your teeth hurt? If so, you may be experiencing tooth sensitivity, which happens when the protective outer layer of your teeth (enamel) is compromised. The good news is that our dentists can determine the cause of your sensitive teeth and recommend a course of treatment to help restore your oral health.
Here are the main reasons why you may be experiencing sensitive teeth.
Worn Tooth Enamel
You may have worn tooth enamel if you grind or clench your teeth while you sleep due to a condition called bruxism. If left untreated, bruxism can damage your enamel and even lead to tooth loss.
You may also have worn tooth enamel if you drink a lot of pop, which is both sugary and acidic. That’s because sugar feeds the plaque inside your mouth. As the bacteria in plaque consume sugar, it produces an acid that erodes your tooth enamel over time. The acid from the pop also erodes your teeth.
Plaque Buildup and Tooth Decay
Most people celebrate the holidays with food, which isn’t a problem as long as you continue to practice good oral hygiene. During the cold-weather months, people celebrate Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years, Valentine’s Day, and other holidays.
It’s perfectly normal (and expected) to indulge in rich, sugary foods during the holidays. Just make sure that you brush your teeth twice a day and floss once daily. Otherwise, you may start to experience tooth sensitivity.
When you eat sugary foods, the plaque inside your mouth consumes the particles left behind on your teeth and gums. It then produces an acid that erodes your tooth enamel over time. If left untreated, too much plaque can lead to cavities.
If you have an amalgam filling, the metal will expand and contract when the temperature inside your mouth fluctuates. For example, the filling may expand slightly when you sip a cup of pumpkin spice latte and contract when you eat a root beer float. These tiny movements are enough to allow bacteria to penetrate inside your tooth, causing further pain and sensitivity.
The good news is that our office uses white fillings that are made of composite resin. Not only is composite resin a perfect color-match for your teeth but it’s also more stable within the tooth structure.
Receding gums can expose the tooth roots, increasing your sensitivity to hot and cold. You may have gum disease if you have sore, bleeding, or swollen gums. If you recognize any of these symptoms, please don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with our office. It’s best that you cure gingivitis as soon as possible.
Gum inflammation (gingivitis) can be reversed by practicing good oral hygiene and seeing our dentist every 6 months for your routine teeth cleaning. But once you develop periodontitis, we’ll only be able to manage your symptoms through a procedure called scaling and root planing.
In the past, whitening products contained harsh ingredients that increased tooth sensitivity. Thankfully, the over-the-counter products you’ll find today contain gentler and higher quality ingredients that are less likely to trigger sensitivity.
That being said, some patients may still experience. This is because one of the main ingredients in teeth whitening products is peroxide, which can weaken the enamel over time.
Once the enamel is weakened, it exposes the more sensitive layer of dentin beneath. Dentin contains tiny tubules that lead to the nerves inside your teeth. That’s why you may experience pain when you sip a cup of hot tea or eat ice cream.
In general, we recommend that you avoid any natural teeth whitening methods that are popular on social media, such as using . These methods often do more harm than good by damaging the enamel and increasing your risk of tooth sensitivity.
If you’re interested in teeth whitening, call Advance Dental to schedule an appointment. Our cosmetic dentists offer custom take-home whitening trays that are both safe and effective.
Learn More: How to Get Perfect White Teeth →
Request an Appointment with Us
The sooner you see one of our dentists for sensitive teeth, the better. Once your enamel is gone, it can never be replaced. However, you can strengthen the remaining enamel you have left by using fluoridated toothpaste and mouth rinse.
It’s also a good idea to schedule your teeth cleaning and oral examination with us every six months. That way, we can monitor your oral health, remove plaque and tartar, and catch any issues as they arise.
Our family dentists in Grand Rapids, MI, are dedicated to helping patients maintain healthy smiles year-round. If you’re experiencing tooth sensitivity this fall or winter, call Advance Dental to schedule an appointment at (616) 956-9183. You may also fill out our online contact form and someone from our team will reach out to you soon.
This blog post has been updated.