With colder temperatures looming ahead, prepping your home, tires, and winter clothing shouldn’t be the only things you focus on when winter is about to arrive. Maintaining a healthy mouth and smile are an essential part of your health to think about ahead of time before winter sets in. Just as our skin and hair often need special attention during the winter months, maintaining proper oral care needs thoughtful planning (who wants to make last-minute trips to the drug store or dental office on a snowy day?). Follow the dental tips for winter months listed below to keep your mouth and smile in tip-top shape during the cold season.
1. Brush Teeth Softly
If you are prone to sensitive teeth (especially in the winter), consider taking up a new style of brushing your teeth. Switch to a soft-bristled and take note to brush more gently around your gums during these colder months. Think about also switching to a toothpaste specifically for sensitive teeth to help reduce teeth sensitivity during winter.
2. Drink Plenty of Fluids
While you may think of the hot summer months as the most crucial time of the year to stay hydrated, the winter season is just as important! With most homes starting to run the heat, it’s easy for the air to become very dry and noticeably dry your mouth out overnight. Keeping your water intake high will help maintain moisture in your mouth, which helps reduce bad bacteria from developing. Not only will you keep unwanted bacteria from forming, but the fluoride frequently found in tap water will prevent cavities and decay from occurring in your teeth.
3. Wear a Mouth Guard for Sports
With basketball season beginning during these months for ages across the board, think about purchasing a mouth guard for your child. Tooth injuries are especially susceptible while playing basketball, and the likelihood of a chipped or knocked-out tooth only increases as your child gets older and the level of play becomes more physical. Avoid an emergency trip to the dentist to repair a broken or knocked-out tooth by simply having your child wear a mouth guard while playing contact and collision sports.
4. Limit the Hot Chocolate
While cold weather makes a cozy hot chocolate beverage so appealing, try to limit your hot cocoa consumption. Hot chocolate is full of sugar that creates tooth decay, so if a cold day calls for a hot chocolate from your kitchen or a local cafe, opt for a sugar-free version. Your teeth will enjoy a break from all the sugar that Thanksgiving and Christmas foods tend to include. If you have a sore throat and are in need of a soothing drink for your throat, stick to tea and leave out the sugar. If you do choose to indulge in a hot chocolate, make it with a milk base so your teeth still gain the benefit of calcium found in milk.
5. Wash Hands Frequently
Cold sores around the mouth tend to flare up in the winter months, and the cold temperatures outside can only make the pain more severe. Wash your hands frequently to keep germs at bay—especially around your mouth. Not only will clean hands help keep cold sores away, but you can hopefully avoid the winter flu that tends to quickly spread among friends and family.
Winter is full of festive holidays and opportunities for fun activities. Enjoy the sledding, skiing, and cozying up by the fireplace, but keep these dental tips for winter months in mind to avoid unnecessary tooth decay.