Readers ask, we answer: Teeth sensitivity in the winter

Lexi asks:

“My teeth ache when it’s really cold out. Why does this happen?”

Hi, Lexi. Experiencing tooth sensitivity because of low temperatures is not unlike getting a little jolt in your mouth from a cold beverage or food. Sensations like these are often due to exposed dentin, the core tissue inside of teeth. Dentin is usually covered by tooth enamel, but over time, the enamel can wear thin, erode away completely or even decay. Other causes for sensitivity may include:

• Grinding or clenching teeth

• Periodontal (gum) disease

• Inflamed pulp (the blood vessels and nerves in a tooth)

• Teeth whitening treatments

Tell your dentist about your toothaches so they can help determine the cause. Your dentist may blow air across your teeth to test the severity of your sensitivity and pinpoint its exact location.

Depending on the cause, the solution could be as simple as switching to a desensitizing toothpaste or mouth rinse. If your teeth are hypersensitive and ache on a daily basis, your dentist may recommend a plastic coating or a filling. Should inflamed tooth pulp be the culprit, it’s usually remedied with a root canal.

We recommend you make a dental appointment to find out what’s causing your sensitivity. But in the meantime, avoid acidic foods, stop whitening treatments and don’t aggressively brush your teeth and gums.

Have a question you’d like us to answer? Send it to grin@deltadental.com, and it could be featured in an upcoming issue.