Planning ahead for a healthy mouth this winter….
Perhaps we shouldn’t be too pessimistic and we might have an extended summer, but most of us will already have started to notice a general drop in temperature and will have a growing awareness that the colder months will soon be upon us.
Whether this year will also see significant changes to our lives due to Covid restrictions we will have to wait and see, but the dark nights and the cold can pose a challenge even without that.
Winter, and even cold autumns, can bring additional problems for our teeth and our oral health in general. However there are a number of things that we can do to minimise this and keep our teeth and gums as healthy as possible over the coming winter months.
First of all, if you haven’t had a dental check up in the last six months, make sure to book one soon. Ongoing monitoring of your teeth and gums by one of our Wickford dentists is an essential if you want to maintain healthy teeth. In addition to this, make sure to see the hygienist at the Cygnet Dental Practice to ensure that your gums are kept as healthy as possible.
Think, don’t drink
Although we often talk about eating sweets and chocolate being bad for your teeth, the fact is that many drinks can be highly destructive too. As we have discussed before, alcohol consumption often leads to a dry mouth which can be a precursor to gum disease. Alcohol comes only behind smoking when it comes to likely causes of oral cancers. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t drink alcohol, but make sure to think about how much you are drinking and drink in moderation, making sure to stay well hydrated with plenty of water too.
This brings us on to soft drinks. Many of these are very high in sugar and are also quite acidic. As these pass over the teeth, they can erode the protective enamel on our teeth, leading to sensitive teeth and tooth decay. Try to avoid these as much as possible and opt for water or other sugar free drinks instead.
People with sensitive teeth can really dread the cold weather. As cold air passes over the teeth, it can cause quite a lot of discomfort. There are things that you could do, such as wear a scarf over the mouth, but the problem with this is that it will eventually get wet as we breathe through it, making it uncomfortable to wear. If you do suffer from tooth sensitivity, we recommend that you discuss this with our dental team. There are a number of options available, from using a ‘sensitive teeth’ toothpaste or a more permanent protection from dental veneers.
Mind the comfort foods
When it is cold, many of us won’t be heading to the salad section of the supermarket and are perhaps more likely to be tempted by the sticky looking cakes and chocolates. As we know, sugar consumption increases the risk of tooth decay so try to keep these to a minimum. If you are looking for comfort foods throughout the autumn and winter, why not look for some recipes for hearty warming soups instead?
As the sunnier days recede, some of us are likely to become deficient in vitamin D3. This deficiency can cause a number of health issues, and has been linked with bone softening, rickets and also depression. Vitamin D can also help immunity which in turn, helps to prevent gum disease. It also plays an important role in remineralisation of hard tissue in the oral cavity. With a low intake of vitamin D, your oral health is likely to suffer. It can be hard to get sufficient during the winter months and especially if you spend most of your time indoors or cover your skin with lots of clothes when outside. You may wish to take a supplement and we recommend discussing this and the relevant dosage with your GP.
Clean your teeth well
It goes without saying that brushing and flossing well on a regular basis is key to good oral health. Many of us feel more tired during winter (and would perhaps hibernate if we could get away with it!) This can lead to the temptation to skip brushing our teeth before bedtime. This would be a serious error and leaving your teeth and gums coated in sugars overnight is an almost certain way to end up with oral health problems.
We are keeping our fingers crossed for more warm weather to come in the next few weeks, but colder weather is inevitable. We hope that today’s Cygnet Dental Practice blog has offered some useful advice on maintaining a healthy mouth through autumn and winter. If you need to see one of our dentists or hygienists, please call our Wickford dental practice on 01268 733078.