10 Ways to Keep Your Teeth Healthy in Winter
There’s a chill in the air, the rain is falling, and we’re finding ourselves more often than not bunched up in layers or sitting by the heater (when there’s power!) — winter is here.
As we adjust our routines for the season, it’s also time to give some extra thought to our dental health. You see, cold weather can bring challenges for our smiles, but with some easy steps, you can keep your teeth and gums in peak health.
1. Stay Hydrated
Winter weather can cause our bodies to dehydrate quicker than usual. Dehydration is not just detrimental to overall health but also affects your oral health by causing dry mouth.
A lack of saliva makes your teeth more prone to cavities and gum disease. So, ensure you drink plenty of water, even when you don’t feel thirsty, to keep your body hydrated and your mouth moist.
2. Protect Your Lips
Chapped lips are common in winter, leading to discomfort and even oral health problems. Make sure to moisturise your lips regularly with an SPF balm (yes, even in winter!). Remember, your lips are part of your oral health too.
3. Limit Sugary Drinks
Winter calls for hot chocolates, tea, coffee, and other warm sugary beverages. While they are delicious and ideal in winter, these drinks can damage your teeth, promoting cavities and staining.
Limit your intake, and when you do indulge, follow up with a glass of water to rinse the sugar and acid away.
4. Brush and Floss Regularly
The holidays can disrupt your regular routine, but it’s crucial to maintain your dental hygiene regimen. Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss daily to keep your mouth free of plaque and food debris.
5. Choose Teeth-Friendly Snacks
During winter, incorporate more teeth-friendly snacks into your diet. Foods rich in phosphorous and calcium, like nuts, cheese and chicken, can strengthen your teeth.
Fruits and vegetables like celery, carrots and apples can also stimulate saliva production, which helps to neutralise acid and keep your mouth clean.
6. Manage Teeth Sensitivity
Cold weather can exacerbate tooth sensitivity. So, if you notice increased sensitivity, use a desensitising toothpaste. Try to avoid extremely hot or cold foods and drinks that can trigger sensitivity. Consults your dentist if the problem persists!
7. Watch Out for TMJ Symptoms
The cold weather can increase muscle tension, potentially worsening symptoms for people with TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Disorders). If you notice increased jaw discomfort, apply warm compresses and consider visiting your dentist.
8. Use a Mouthguard in Winter Sports
For all you winter sports enthusiasts out there, protect your pearly whites! Whether you’re playing hockey, rugby, netball or figure skating, ensure you wear a mouthguard to save your teeth from potential injuries.
9. Avoid Using Your Teeth as Tools
One of Dr JJ Serfontein’s top tips as a dentist is to avoid using your teeth as tools to open things! Using your teeth to open a can or package can be tempting, but you must resist. Doing this can lead to chips, breaks, or other damage.
10. Schedule a Dental Check-Up
When all else fails, a trip to the dentist can help you sort through any issues you’re experiencing with your oral health.
At JJS Dentistry, we provide comprehensive dental check-ups to assess your oral health, including in-depth checks of your teeth, gums and jaw. We end off with a good clean to keep your teeth in top shape!
Remember, while winter brings its own set of dental health challenges, none are insurmountable. By following these tips, you can enjoy the season with a healthy, happy smile. Stay warm, hydrated, and remember to care for your teeth as diligently as ever.
Get in touch to book your JJS Dentistry appointment today!