The temperatures are dropping and the climate is becoming drier every day, the holiday season is here and biting winds are destroying your skin. However, your skin is not the only thing that is at risk from the harshness of the changing weather.
The winter season can cause multiple dental problems in your mouth which we will discuss in detail in this article. We will talk about what the issues are and what you can do to maintain oral hygiene throughout the season.
Six Tips to Maintain Oral Hygiene in Winter
The dry weather can lead to lower levels of saliva production in your mouth and make your mouth feel dry. Hydrating regularly will help reduce the dryness and placing a humidifier can help increase the moisture levels in your home.
Dryness of the mouth and the cold weather can cause your lips to dry and crack very quickly. The sensitive skin on your lips cannot take the harshness of cold, dry winds. Applying petroleum jelly will help lock moisture in to soothe the symptoms. Using a lip balm that contains SPF will notably help when you are outdoors. It will help protect your lips from the harmful UV rays of the sun and promote healthy lips through the season.
Small blisters that swell and burn can be caused by stress, fatigue and cold weather. You can minimize cold sores by keeping your lips moisturized and your hands clean to avoid spreading bacteria. Try to limit touching the mouth to avoid further irritation and spread.
Most of us will eat more than usual around the holidays and canker sores can prove to be extremely irritating during this time. They peak on dry days and are aggravated further by acidic and spicy foods. Avoiding acidic and spicy foods will prevent canker sores altogether, but if you are already suffering then you should try to rinse your mouth with a mixture of a teaspoon of salt and half a glass of warm water. This will help clean the sores and promote faster healing.
Breathing cold winter air can leave your teeth feeling sore and consuming hot or cold food and drinks will lead to tooth pain for those with sensitive teeth. Using toothpaste that is specially designed for sensitive teeth will greatly help relieve pain and promote oral hygiene.
Cold weather weakens immune systems which can lead to inflammation and infection in your gums. Avoid touching your mouth and maintain good oral hygiene to prevent gum infection in your mouth.
Here are a few key things to maintain good oral hygiene throughout the winter season.
– Eat healthy and keep your mouth and body hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
– Brush your teeth twice daily.
– Use specialized sensitivity toothpaste for sensitive teeth.
– Floss every night before bed.
– Visit your dentist for regular checkups and cleaning at least twice a year.
A healthy and clean mouth can help avoid dental issues and maintain oral hygiene. You and your family can avoid winter dental problems by practicing the simple tips and steps mentioned here. If you have any kind of aches or pains in your mouth and teeth, always contact your dentist to seek professional advice.
Dentist offices across the nation – and globe – had been advised to close one COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) was declared a global pandemic this past March. All routine appointments had to be rescheduled for a later date, which at the time was the X factor in all of this. Here in Maryland, Dr. Adesanya’s office, along with all other dental practices, resumed routine care in May. Reopening of dental offices during COVID-19 meant having to implement some new policies and procedures to ensure the safety and well-being of both staff and patients. The effects of the quarantine on oral health hasn’t necessarily been a good one.
Reopening in May
Upon being allowed to resume routine care, Dr. Adesanya released a statement with the following, “Our office follows infection control recommendations made by the American Dental Association (ADA), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). We follow the activities of these agencies so that we are up-to-date on any new rulings or guidance that may be issued. We do this to make sure that our infection control procedures are current and adhere to each agencies’ recommendations.” This information was put out to inform patients that not only is Dr. Adesanya’s office taking all of the proper precautions, but they’re actually going above and beyond what is mandated.
The Quarantine and Oral Health
From the time dental offices closed their doors in mid-March through their reopening in mid-May, patients went two months without routine dental care. Fewer people visiting their dentists for routine care or otherwise may be a good thing for dental insurers, but for everyone else, it means delaying checkups and cleanings that could reveal issues such as cavities that need to be tended to sooner than later.
Dental offices weren’t the only thing to close amidst COVID-19. In fact, it was every business that was deemed non-essential. This meant remote work for many and furloughs for others. It meant prolonged quarantining in our homes and for some, a decrease in their level of personal and oral hygiene. If your first Zoom meeting isn’t until 11am, it may be easy to pass over brushing your teeth in the morning.
Quarantining is also responsible for brining on new habits for individuals. Some became addicted to online shopping, some picked up some new hobbies and some began unhealthy habits such as smoking, drinking, consuming sugar-filled comfort foods like sweets and sodas. If you fall into the latter category, you’re not alone.
The Burden of 2020
Along with these sudden and dramatic changes brought on by the pandemic, came a fair share of stress. From worrying about contracting the virus to financial hardships, 2020 has had more than a fair share of stress.
Stress can contribute to things such as teeth grinding, clenching, gum disease, dry mouth and more. It can also cause your body to have high levels of cortisol which can increase those food cravings for sugary and fatty foods and is also associated with increased hunger hormones.
Cortisol is a steroid hormone in your body that regulates a wide range of processes from your metabolism to your immune response. Perhaps one of the things cortisol is most commonly known for though, is the role it plays in your body’s response to stress – hence the cravings and increased hunger.
Dentist in Bowie, Maryland
All of this and more is why if you haven’t already rescheduled (or scheduled) your appointment with Dr. Adesanya, you should give his office a call today. 2020 has not been kind to many things, oral health included, so make sure your routine care is up to date to avoid any more unpleasant surprises 2020 may have in store (at least for your oral health). Get in touch today by sending a secure message via our website or by calling: 301-464-1800.
It is possible to keep your teeth healthy and have a healthy smile while also giving in a bit to your sweet tooth, especially during Valentine’s Day. While avoiding sweets altogether is the best option for your teeth, Dr. Adesanya, a family dentist in Bowie, Maryland, knows Valentine’s Day is a sweet day to indulge (pun intended). Here are some recommendations from Dr. Adesanya to keep your smile healthy this Valentine’s Day.
Choose dark chocolate in particular. Dark chocolate contains less sugar than regular milk chocolate. Chocolate, in general though, dissolves faster than gummy and hard candies meaning the sugar has less time to form cavities in your mouth. That does not mean that you can’t get cavities from chocolate, it simply means that it is less likely to cause cavities than gummy and hard candies.
Skip the Gummies and Hard Candies
Hard candies and gummies can be a staple for any holiday and Valentine’s Day is no different. Conversation hearts come readily to mind here. Miniature packs of gummy bears and skittles to send with Valentine’s for your kid’s school party are also quite common. If possible, resist! These gummy and hard candies can stick to your teeth for an extended period of time and get caught between your teeth. And the longer they sit there, the higher the risk of a cavity. You may think hard candies are more harmless than gummies, especially if you’re one to crunch through the hard candy and not let it sit in your mouth for long. Crunching those hard candies can chip or crack your teeth in addition to irritating the soft tissue of your teeth. If you do indulge in gummies and hard candies, make sure you brush and floss after consuming this treat. For some other tips on keeping your teeth healthy check out our blog on Oral Hygiene Demystified.
Though not as glamorous sounding, there are sugar-free alternatives to everything – sugar-free chocolates, gummies and hard candies galore!! When possible, Dr. Adesanya recommends switching to sugar-free goodies.
Non-Food Alternatives For Valentine’s Day
Chocolate and candy may be a Valentine’s Day staple, but so are flowers, balloons and teddy bears. Looking for some ideas for your kids to hand out in school? Why not consider alternatives to sugary treats such as bubbles (you can get a bulk pack of mini ones at the dollar store), pencils, rings or other small toys. Many stores carry these non-food alternatives to make your Valentine’s Day just as sweet without the sweets.
Brush and Floss For Healthy Teeth
No matter the treat, having a good oral hygiene routine is important. The American Dental Association and Dr. Adesanya agree that you should brush your teeth once in the morning and once in the evening before bed. Don’t forget to brush your tongue as well! In addition to brushing, you should floss your teeth at least once a day to keep those teeth shining bright like a diamond. To schedule an appointment with a hygienist, give our office a call at 301-464-1800.
Family Dentist in Bowie, Maryland
With patients that call Dr. Adesanya the best dentist in Bowie, Maryland, he takes pride in his work and in the level of care he provides to every single patient. With a focus on general and cosmetic dentistry, Dr. Adesanya’s goal and mission is to provide you and your family with the highest quality dental care in a caring, safe and relaxed environment. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Adesanya, give us a call or click here.
Tooth pain is no picnic. In fact, pain from pulpitis (inflammation of the tooth nerve) is classified as the second most severe pain that a human can feel, second only to passing kidney stones.
Pain from teeth sensitivity is nowhere as severe as pulpitis pain, but can still be quite annoying, taking the fun away from simple everyday activities such as having a cup of hot coffee, or a cold scoop of ice cream.
Dr. Adesanya, heralded as one of the best dentists in Bowie, Maryland, explains the cause of tooth sensitivity:
“ The human tooth is quite a fascinating structure. It is formed of multiple layers, the outermost of which (called the enamel) is almost entirely made of calcium, so is quite insensitive and responsible for the protection of the tooth. The layer under that is known as the dentin and forms the main mantle of the tooth. Unlike the enamel, dentin is very sensitive, therefore when the enamel gets broken or chipped away, exposing the underlying dentin, that’s when the pain and sensitivity start.”
What Causes Enamel Wear and Tear/Dentin Exposure?
- Tooth decay:
It is obvious that the first reason for tooth sensitivity is tooth decay, which eats away at the strong enamel. When the decay has been present for a while without intervention, the enamel dissolves from the surface of the tooth, leaving the dentin to deal with the oral environment, and the pain starts. A fact that is quite unknown to most people is that tooth decay doesn’t have to cause a cavity in the tooth, which means the tooth could be ravaged by decay and you may not even know it. This decay isn’t always visible to the human eye but is something that would be visible on an x-ray. For tips on brushing and flossing, check out our blog on Demystifying Oral Hygiene or schedule an appointment with one of our hygienists.
- Teeth grinding:
Another very common reason for tooth sensitivity is teeth grinding. The continuous friction between the upper and lower teeth gradually wears away the protective enamel layer, and eventually all the enamel disappears leaving the exposed dentin. This means that any cold or hot food or drink would cause pain.
- Cracked Tooth:
This is the most difficult case, not because the pain is more severe, but because it is the most difficult to diagnose. A crack has no visible clinical symptoms (apart from some sensitivity of course), and it also doesn’t show up on an x-ray. So, the only way the dentist could accurately diagnose the condition is a process of exclusion of all other causes of pain and sensitivity. The treatment is also quite aggressive, as it can only be treated by covering the tooth with a crown or even an extraction might be necessary.
- Pockets and gum recession:
This cause is unrelated to enamel, but is also due to exposure of dentin, this time that of the root rather than the crown. The root of the tooth is also mainly formed of dentin but is covered by the gums rather than the enamel. So, when the root gets exposed (as in cases of pockets or gum recession) it is only common sense to assume that sensitivity would ensue.
- Charcoal Toothpaste:
You read that right, charcoal toothpaste is a cause for enamel wear and tear leading to tooth sensitivity despite its claims otherwise. In fact, Dr. Adesanya, along with the American Dental Association, warns against the use of charcoal toothpaste. Charcoal is too abrasive and can cause enamel erosion leading to dentin exposure.
Treatment and Prevention of Tooth Sensitivity
As Dr. Adesanya always says, prevention is better than cure. It is so much easier to prevent sensitivity than deal with its ramifications and treatment options. Prevention mainly consists of removing the causes of sensitivity, that is achieved through:
- Proper oral hygiene:
Brushing and flossing, together with a fluoride containing toothpaste go a long way as to prevent decay, as well as gingivitis and pockets. The proper way of brushing is also important. Vigorous or improper brushing could lead to gum recession and subsequently sensitivity.
- Night guard:
A plastic or rubber stent that is worn on top of teeth, especially at night, to prevent teeth grinding. This in turn prevents wear of enamel as well as tooth cracks which are two of the main reasons for sensitivity.
If the problem already occurred, here is how you could treat it:
- Fluoride application:
The first line of treatment of sensitivity is closing away the sensitive pores of the dentin with fluoride. Fluoride is applied either at home through toothpastes and mouthwashes, or professionally through varnishes and gels in the dentist’s office. Dr. Adesanya recommends that if your tooth is a little sensitive, after brushing your teeth, place a small, pea sized amount of toothpaste on your finger and rub it into the gum area of your sensitive tooth. This can help ease some of the discomfort.
The remedy could be as simple as removing the decay and covering the exposed dentin layer with a small filling. This, of course, is for simple cases but doesn’t quite work with largely exposed dentin areas.
A crown is a cap that is cemented on to your tooth to restore the tooth’s shape, size and strength. There are a number of reasons you may need a crown; exposed dentin is one of them. Covering the entire tooth with a crown would surely shield the dentin from exposure to hot and cold foods and drinks, and therefore no sensitivity would be expected.
Family Dentist in Bowie, Maryland
With patients that call Dr. Adesanya the best dentist in Bowie, Maryland, he takes pride in his work and in the level of care he provides to every single patient. With a focus on general and cosmetic dentistry, Dr. Adesanya’s goal and mission is to provide you and your family with the highest quality dental care in a caring, safe and relaxed environment.
Having a healthy smile means taking care of those beautiful pearly whites, which means having a strict oral hygiene regimen.