Why Is It Important to Take Care of Your Teeth in the Winter?
The holiday season is here, and this means that the weather is going to get a lot chillier. Though this might sound fun in theory, the sudden drop in temperature can often take a toll on our health and well-being. It can even affect our teeth and gums, leaving us more vulnerable to dental problems.
In this article, we'll provide some helpful advice for keeping your teeth in tip-top shape all winter long.
What Causes Dental Problems in the Winter?
Dehydration: Cold air holds less moisture than warm air, so winter months usually result in lower levels of humidity. This leads to dehydration, both systemically and within our mouths.
Without adequate saliva production, our enamel becomes vulnerable and cracks or chips more easily, making us prone to cavities, gum disease, and other issues linked with dry mouth conditions, such as bad breath or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Changes in Diet: As weather patterns change, people adapt their diet to suit their seasonal preferences.
During winter, this could include heavier dishes laden with carbohydrates, such as stews and bread, as well as larger portions due to higher caloric needs. These types of food items have negative impacts on our health, as they increase acidity levels while decreasing protective qualities found naturally in saliva glands.
Over-The-Counter Medications: Many patients turn to over-the-counter medications during winter months to treat seasonal illnesses, such as the common cold and influenza. Unfortunately, these drugs can leave behind certain chemicals in the mouth after consumption, negatively impacting enamel vitality.
Ibuprofen (Advil), acetaminophen (Tylenol), pseudoephedrine hydrochloride found in decongestants, and dextromethorphan, commonly used in cough medicines, are some of the chemicals that can affect oral health.
Creepy Crawlies: During winters, fungal growth increases exponentially due to dark, damp weather conditions, encouraging fungus proliferation, specifically around moist gums. When combined with acidic balance issues, this creates the perfect environment for bacteria to easily colonize unprotected surfaces—resulting in the rapid multiplication of bacterial colonies until they eventually find their way into the bloodstream, increasing our chances of systemic illnesses.
Bad Habits: Last but not least, the winter season also brings a spike in unhealthy habits, typically associated with smoking, drinking sugary substances, consuming caffeine-filled beverages, and a lack of physical activity.
Some of the worst culprits are chewing tobacco, snuff, and sharing cigarettes and drinks with other individuals at party scenes, increasing the risk of gum diseases.
To Protect Yourself from Winter Teeth Damage, Remember:
Maintain good hygiene habits by brushing & flossing twice daily.
Keep up with regular checkups even amidst all the holiday festivities.
Consider protective fluoride treatment options offered near your area.
Eat foods high in calcium regularly.
Drink fewer sugary beverages whenever you're hungry or thirsty.
Everyone deserves a beautiful and healthy smile regardless of the weather outside. To learn more about how to take care of your teeth during winter, reach out to the experts at Clay & Associates DDS, PLC today! We look forward to hearing from you!