The holiday season is here, which means beautiful decorations, warm meals, and plenty of time spent with friends and family. However, it also means colder weather. Frigid temperatures can cause your skin and hair to become dry, but chapped cheeks aren’t the only concern. Winter can also affect your smile, but cracked lips and a dry mouth don’t have to damper the season’s festivities. Here’s how you can combat 4 common winter mouth issues.
1. Chapped Lips
Cold air can dry out your lips, which can lead to a habit of licking them to add moisture. Although it might provide relief for a few minutes, the thin tissues can crack or split.
Drinking plenty of water will keep your lips moisturized from the inside out. Applying a lip balm, especially when heading outdoors, will help protect against dryness, so you won’t have to think twice before smiling or opening your mouth wide to bite into a juicy hamburger.
2. Sensitive Teeth
Soups, coffee, or a cup of hot cocoa are staples of the season, but they can trigger tooth sensitivity. Besides the foods and drinks you consume, inhaling cold air can also cause you to pucker your lips in discomfort.
You don’t have to stay indoors or stick to lukewarm foods and drinks to avoid pain. Sensitivity toothpaste can block pain signals to keep you comfortable. If changing your toothpaste doesn’t help, your dentist can give your teeth added protection with fluoride varnish.
3. A Dry Mouth
The risk of a dry mouth is common during winter because many people forget to drink enough water. It’s not unusual to feel less thirsty in colder temperatures, which can lead to dehydration. If your mouth is too dry, it creates the perfect environment for harmful bacteria to multiply quickly.
You can reduce your risk of gum disease, tooth decay, and bad breath by keeping your mouth moist. Healthcare professionals recommend drinking eight 8-oz glasses of water daily. You can also chew a piece of sugarless gum to encourage saliva production.
4. Mouth Breathing
With winter also comes cold and flu season. Nasal congestion can make it difficult to breathe through your nose, which can cause mouth breathing. Your mouth can get too dry very quickly.
It’s best to treat a stuffy or runny nose to keep the nasal passages open. When choosing cold medicines, look for those that are sugar free, so a case of the sniffles doesn’t cause cavities.
You can keep your smile healthy and feel your best by giving your mouth the attention it deserves during the next few weeks.
About Dr. Peter A. Pate
Dr. Pate earned his dental degree from the University of Tennessee School of Dentistry and has regularly continued his education in many specialties, like general and cosmetic dentistry. He is a proud member of many professional organizations, including the American Dental Association and the Academy of General Dentistry. If you need a cleaning and checkup, request an appointment through our website or call (404) 266-9424.