Oral & Vision Health Blog

Why Do My Teeth Hurt During Cold Weather?

Do your teeth hurt during cold winter days? Whether you live in a climate with cold winters or are just experiencing the 50’s for the first time this year, tooth pain from the cold is still a possibility. There are a lot of reasons the cold weather can lead to toothache or sensitivity. Here are three reasons why your teeth hurt during cold weather and how you can reduce the pain.

Tooth Sensitivity

If your teeth are sensitive to cold drinks and foods, you may experience discomfort when temperatures outside turn chilly. Your teeth are accustomed to your body temperature, so, when they encounter cold air through an open mouth, they tend to contract. Contractions can cause tiny cracks to form in the enamel – the outer, protective surface of your teeth and exposes the underlying dentin and its nerve fibers, resulting in toothaches similar to cavities.

Teeth Grinding

Another reason you might get toothaches in the winter is that people are inclined to tense up as a mechanism to try to stay warm in cold weather, leading you to chatter and grind your teeth. Grinding your teeth for a long period of time without realizing it can cause you to feel discomfort and can even lead to issues in the jaw.

Lack of Vitamin D

Vitamin D, or calciferol, is an important supplement that brings strength to our teeth. The primary source of this vitamin is the sun. Considering there’s a limited supply of sunlight during the winter and the fact that you spend most of your days indoors, it’s likely that the reduced levels of Vitamin D will negatively impact the development of your teeth. To increase your vitamin D intake over the winter months, try adding more supplements or foods to your diet that contain Vitamin D, such as salmon, mushrooms, and egg yolks, to name a few.

How to Reduce Tooth Pain During Winter

  • Keep your mouth warm. One suggestion is to breathe through your nose as much as possible when outdoors. Your cheeks and lips insulate your teeth as long as your mouth is closed. The air you breathe through your nose will be warmer by the time it reaches your teeth, so reactions to the cold may be lessened. You can also keep your mouth warm and limit your teeth grinding by wearing a warm thick scarf over your mouth.
  • Change your toothpaste. If your enamel needs a boost to give it an edge against extreme temperatures, use a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth Your dentist can recommend a reliable brand. Wait 30 minutes or so before going outside and try not to eat or drink anything that will rub away the protective coating left by the toothpaste.
  • Change your toothbrush. Buy a toothbrush with a soft bristle brush and try not to brush hard against your teeth. Brushing with too much force can start to wear down your enamel which will lead your teeth to become more sensitive – so make sure to use proper brushing technique.
  • Take a break from teeth whitening strips. If you’re currently using teeth whitening agents or thinking about whitening your teeth, consider waiting till it gets warmer outside. Hydrogen peroxide and sodium hydroxide are a few of the ingredients that make your teeth whiter. These ingredients can strip past surface stains and start wearing down your enamel.

Weather sensitivity can occur regardless of how well you care for your teeth, but your teeth are at greater risk if you don’t practice good oral hygiene and live in an area that has extreme temperature swings. Be sure you are also visiting your dentist twice a year and if the toothache continues for more than a few days, contact them as soon as possible. Want to learn how your enamel and dentin interact with the other parts of your teeth? Download our FREE Anatomy of The Tooth Infographic below to see how all the different parts of your teeth work!

anatomy of the tooth