This the season for wicked wintertime weather in the Chicago area, including snow and bitterly cold temperatures! Here are some tips from our doctors and staff to help keep your smile (and the rest of your body) safe and healthy.
Wintertime Dental Health Tips
Dress Your Face & Mouth for the Weather
Teeth can become more sensitive in cold weather. Breathing very cold air over your teeth can cause them to contract, just like any hard object. It’s important to keep your face and mouth (and your whole body) warm and covered. Even better, stay inside if you can!
A note on kids – We don’t know what it is about kids, especially teens, and their apparent “allergy” to hats and gloves, but please take good care to ensure your kids put on their winter gear (and KEEP it on!) if they will be going out at all during this crazy winter weather! Kids are still growing and developing, and breathing in this cold, dry air can affect their dental health as much as they can for adults.
Mind Your Jaw & Save Yourself a Headache
Many people clench their jaws when shoveling snow or moving around outside and don’t even realize it. This can cause jaw pain and headaches, and can even damage your teeth! Try to focus on keeping your jaw, neck, and shoulders relaxed. Snow removal can be hard on the whole body, so rest frequently and ask for help if you need it!
Whole Body Health Alert! We know shoveling and snow removal can be great exercise, and can also be strenuous on the entire body. Jaw pain can also be a sign of a heart attack, so please take extra special care to listen to your body if you will be out working hard. If your aches and pains don’t go away with a couple of Ibuprofen and a hot shower, or if they seem unusual in any way, don’t ignore them! Regular wellness visits with your primary care physician, as well as your dentist, are the best way to keep your whole body healthy!
Stay Hydrated, Inside & Out
We know, it’s hard to want to drink water in cold weather. However, dehydration can lead to a condition called dry mouth, as well as dry, cracked lips and issues such as canker sores. Even if you’re not sweating or exerting yourself, cold air and dry indoor air can suck the moisture right out of your body, which can cause your gums to shrink and recede, which can cause pain and discomfort. Be sure to drink plenty of water and use a humidifier indoors.
How much is Enough? The standard recommendation is 8, 8-oz glasses of water per day. However, you may need to adjust this based on your size, fitness level, and other factors such as alcohol and coffee consumption, which can affect your hydration. One suggestion is to take your weight in pounds and divide it by half to determine the number of ounces of water you need each day. Another idea is a little simpler, but a tad more, *ahem*, personal. Drink enough fluids to keep your urine relatively clear. We’ll leave that bit up to you, but don’t forget how important it is to stay hydrated in the winter.
As always, it’s important to brush and floss regularly, and keep up with your regular preventative visits. Don’t ignore the pain until it becomes unbearable! If you’re experiencing pain or sensitivity, it’s best to see your dentist and get it checked out. 1st Family Dental is open evenings and weekends. If you’re busy out there shoveling snow and forget to call, you can book online anytime!
We love our patients and love to help them form healthy dental life that will last them a lifetime. For more information call us today to answer all of your questions so get an appointment today.