You probably don't think much about your temporomandibular…
Did you know that even a brief exposure to snow and other winter weather can have an effect on your body, including your oral health?
Here in Kansas City, the length and timing of winter weather can be hard to predict. Though it can sometimes sound tempting, it’s impossible to stay indoors the entire season. There are those of us who embrace the winter weather and go skiing or play winter sports, spending hours out in the cold. Even the most homebodied among us still have to travel to and from work, wait for the school bus, run errands, and take care of chores like shoveling the walk.
Luckily, your family dentist in Kansas City has a few tips on what you can do to reduce the effects of common oral health concerns related to the effects of cold winter weather:
Sensitive Teeth: If you’re already suffering from tooth sensitivity, breathing in that cold, crisp air can be painful and so can that hot soup or cup of cocoa that you drink to warm back up afterward. It’s an unpleasant combo and one that your Kansas City family dentist may be able to help resolve.
Dry Mouth and Chapped Lips: Cold weather also usually means lower humidity, and that reduced moisture in the air can lead to chapped lips and lower saliva production. Running the furnace also tends to pull moisture out of the air inside your home, which can lead to dehydration within the house. Chapped lips are no fun, and saliva is your mouth’s first line of defense against cavities and gum disease, so it may be a good idea to employ a humidifier during the winter months and make sure you drink plenty of water!
Gum Inflammation: Winter is also cold and flu season, and all those infections can weaken your immune system, leaving your gums more vulnerable. If you’re noticing redness, pain, or swelling in your gums, it’s time to contact your Kansas City family dentist right away!
Cold Sores and Canker Sores: Cold sores (those are the ones around your lips) can be triggered by all sorts of things, including cold weather (hence the name). Canker sores are the ones inside your mouth, and they can be triggered by mouth dryness that comes with winter weather, not to mention exposure to spicy or acidic foods.
Since it’s impossible to completely avoid cold weather in Kansas City, what can you do to help alleviate the effects on your teeth and oral health? The most important thing to do is to stick to your oral care routine. This means brushing and flossing every day, of course, but it also means making regular visits to your Kansas City family dentist for biannual checkups and cleanings. When the weather is cold, we may be inclined to binge on snacks, but sticking to a healthy diet and making sure to drink plenty of water can also help keep teeth and gums in good shape. Pack a bottle of water with lunch or when you’re traveling and carry lip balm with you at all times.
Whether you’re experiencing problems related to cold weather or just need to schedule your biannual checkup, you can call Blacker Family Dental in Kansas City, MO at (816) 763-8400 or click here to schedule an appointment.