Why do teeth hurt when the cold weather sets in? This is a problem that plagues many during the cold months and luckily there are a few solutions.
Our teeth are made of dentin that is covered by harder enamel. Upon sudden exposure to cold, and even for a short period of time, dentin can contract or shrink. This contraction is very minimal, but it can still allow exposure of sensitive parts of the teeth to the cold air inhaled, which can then respond with pain or sensitivity. Once the mouth is shut, the temperature returns back to 36.7 degrees and the dentin and enamel expand. If one suffers from tooth grinding, there can be hairline cracks in the teeth, which are generally unnoticeable, but can expand and contract more enhancing the sensitivity to cold. The best way to prevent cold induced tooth pain is to stay warm! Try and breathe through your nose as much as possible, and if this is a challenge in the more frigid times, place a scarf over your mouth to prevent direct contact of cold air with the teeth. Desensitizing tooth pastes can help coat the exposed dentin and reduce sensitivity too.
Even if we are not breathing in, the cold air through our mouth, the cold weather can make us clench and grind our teeth, either unconsciously or in a conscious effort to stop the cluttering. This stress may also lead to tooth and joint pain and even cracks over time. If you clench, the best remedy is to relax the muscles and allow the lower jaw to drop.
Sometimes cold induced pain can have other underlying causes such as, Amalgam fillings that are prone to expansion and contraction and can crack the teeth around them when exposed to temperature changes. A Gum infection may also manifest itself with strong sensitivity to cold air. Make sure to contact Dr. Daniel Kaufman and our team at Tooronga Family Dentistry for more ways to solve this chilling phenomenon, and stay warm!