Why do my teeth hurt in cold weather?

Have you ever felt the stinging, zapping sensation to your teeth when exposed to cold weather? Whether you’re outside building a snowman with your kids or skiing with friends, chances are you know what we’re referring to.

The zapping sensation can be felt when your teeth become exposed to cold weather or cold foods. It can be annoying and downright painful.

What causes your teeth to hurt when it’s cold outside?

  • Expansion and contraction (and cracked teeth). Your front teeth can change as much as 120 degrees in temperature. Crazy, right? This expansion and contraction as they change in temperature can cause sensitivity. Consequently, you may end up with small cracks in the teeth, but don’t worry, tooth structure is not impacted. Instead you might feel sensitivity to cold weather or cold foods.
  • Exposed dentin underneath the tooth enamel. If the layer of tooth enamel wears away (which is the outer layer of the tooth that provides protection), the dentin layer below will be exposed. If the dentin is exposed, you may feel that zapping sensation when exposed to cold air or cold beverages/foods. Once those nerves of the tooth become exposed, you’re surely to experience sensitivity.

Other reasons why your teeth are sensitive

Tooth sensitivity is a common problem experienced by adults and children, and the causes can be numerous.

The most common reasons why your teeth are sensitive include:

  • Cracked teeth
  • Gum/periodontal disease
  • Strong teeth whitening toothpaste
  • Decayed or weakened tooth enamel
  • Brushing and flossing too aggressively
  • Acidic food and acidic beverage consumption
  • Teeth grinding
  • Acid reflux

To learn more about each item above, visit our blog post Why are my teeth so sensitive? 8 reasons.

And now back to that cold weather tooth pain we’ve been discussing! Let’s explore some ways you can stop cold weather tooth pain.

How to stop cold weather tooth pain

Aside from brushing and flossing 2-3 times per day and eating a healthy diet (including drinking lots of water), there are a few things you can do to protect your teeth in cold weather.

  • When outdoors, breathe through your nose as much as possible instead of your mouth. By the time the air reaches your mouth, it will be a bit warmer and less likely to cause sensitivity.
  • Lightly wrap a scarf around the mouth in order to warm up the air before it hits your teeth.
  • Cup your hands around the mouth and nose to warm up the air before you inhale.

Of course, if tooth sensitivity becomes a consistent issue, schedule an appointment with your dentist. Call Shining Smiles Family Dentistry if you’re near Marietta, GA.

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