It’s that time of year again: The snow tires go back on the car, the snow boots come out of storage, and the snow shovel returns to its spot beside the door. But your home, car and clothing aren’t the only things that need winterizing this time of year. Believe it or not, your mouth needs extra protection in the winter, too!
Shield Your Teeth
Do you enjoy winter sports like skiing, skating or hockey? These popular pastimes can be a lot of fun, but they can also be very dangerous for your teeth. If you participate in any winter sports, be sure to invest in a high-quality mouth guard prior to playing. This can help protect your teeth in case of a slip, fall or hockey puck to the mouth.
For the more serious sports enthusiast or for patients with braces, a custom mouth guard may be a wise investment. These devices provide superior protection as well as unsurpassed comfort, which means your athlete may be more likely to wear it than the standard boil-and-bite mouth guards available at most stores.
Step Away From the Grind
Speaking of shielding your teeth, if you grind your teeth, winter can be particularly brutal to your oral health. Whether you grind your teeth each time you heave a shovel of snow, or gnash them in frustration with slow-moving traffic, grinding your teeth can cause everything from cracked teeth and fillings to deep pits and jaw soreness.
You may think that because the weather is cold you don’t need to stay as hydrated as you might in the summer, but hydration is still very important in the winter – especially if you’re shoveling, sledding or participating in any other strenuous winter activity. And just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you won’t sweat under that big fluffy jacket. Hydration is important for your oral health year-round because dry mouth can cause everything from bad breath to an increased risk of cavities and oral bacteria.
Don’t Forget Your Lips!
Thanks to all that cold, dry air, chapped lips are a big problem during the winter months. Not only are chapped lips unsightly, but they can also be really painful, and they can leave your mouth vulnerable to infection. When you’re heading outside, make sure to protect your lips with an SPF lip balm that will protect against the elements.
Be Wary of Colds
We get it – the last thing you want to do when you’re sick is think about your oral hygiene, but colds can create a lot of conditions that are less than ideal for your oral health. Sticky, sugary cold syrups can coat the teeth and create a feeding frenzy for oral bacteria. Cough drops can be even worse.
Stuck in bed for a week? Make sure you get out of bed to brush, even if you aren’t doing much else. Got a stomach bug? It’s not pleasant, but the acid our stomach uses to digest food is meant to stay in our stomach – not get on our teeth. Unfortunately, when you’ve got a norovirus, that acid can get on the teeth and damage the enamel, so make sure to clean your teeth very well if you end up vomiting.
Dr. George and her team wish you a safe and healthy winter. For any questions or concerns about your oral health, give us a call at 724-934-3422.