5 Tips to protect your teeth and gums this winter

Winter brings more than just chilly weather, and though many of us experience changes in our skin and allergies, it can also bring unwelcome changes to our oral health. If you’ve ever noticed increased sensitivity in your teeth or a persistently dry mouth during colder months, you’re not alone. These sensitivities are caused by lowered temperature, as well as a decrease in moisture in the air.

While there’s not much we can do about the seasons, there are some things we can try to reduce to keep our mouths happy and healthy all winter long.

Stay Hydrated: Cold weather often coincides with cold and flu season, leading to stuffy noses and increased mouth breathing. It’s important to stay well hydrated at any time, but particularly when our immune system is working overtime and fighting off or dealing with an infection. Hydration not only supports your body’s recovery but also helps keep your lips and mouth tissues moist, preventing sensitivity and discomfort. Sipping water throughout the day also maintains saliva flow, which is vital for protecting against tooth decay.

Moisturise Your Lips: Dry, chapped lips are common in the winter and can be prevented by using a lip balm, preferably with a SPF (sun protection factor). Using a lip balm with SPF not only prevents dryness but also shields your lips from harmful UV rays. If you’re prone to cold sores, keeping your lips hydrated also helps to reduce the risk of cold sore outbreaks and maintains the health of this delicate skin. Keep a lip balm handy wherever you go to lock in moisture and keep your lips smooth and supple.

Care for Your Teeth and Gums: When your immune system is busy fighting off winter the flu, your oral hygiene needs extra attention. Bacteria quickly multiply in the warm, moist area of the mouth, and feed on food particles left on the teeth and gums. Frequent snacking, which is common in the colder winter months, can lead to an increased risk of decay. Regular brushing and flossing become even more critical during these times to remove food particles and maintain a healthy balance of bacteria. Take your time with your oral care routine, especially before bedtime when saliva flow decreases, leaving your teeth more vulnerable.

Address Sensitivity: If you struggle with sensitive teeth, winter can increase your discomfort. Desensitising toothpaste can provide relief by covering and healing exposed areas of your teeth. Talk to your dentist to find the right product for you and incorporate it into your daily oral care routine.

Our top five tips to care for your oral health this winter

A few simple habits can go a long way in protecting your oral health during the winter months:

  1. Replace your toothbrush regularly, especially after recovering from a cold or flu.
  2. Maintain a balanced diet to support your immune system.
  3. Rinse your mouth with water after consuming staining beverages like tea, coffee, or wine.
  4. Consider using a humidifier in your home or office to combat dry air.
  5. Don’t forget to schedule regular dental check-ups to catch any issues early on.

Maintaining good oral health during the winter months is essential for your overall well-being and comfort. Follow these tips to minimise discomfort and book your next check-up to keep your smile healthy and happy.