How To Care For Sensitive Teeth Through The Cold Montana Winter

How To Care For Sensitive Teeth Through The Cold Montana Winter
Tooth sensitivity can be triggered by a number of things, from eating something hot to having tooth decay. Often, people associate tooth sensitivity and pain with cavities or other dental problems. So, when winter rolls around and their teeth hurt, some people get worried as they experience dental sensitivity.

Whether you do have a dental issue that needs to be addressed or just need some advice on how to care for your sensitive teeth, our dentists here at Bridge Creek Dental are here to help.

Why Are Your Teeth Sensitive In The Winter

Here in Billings, MT, our winters are no joke. From the blowing winds to the heaps of snow, it is no surprise that the cold can cause dental pain, as moving from warm to cold temperatures can cause your teeth to expand—response to heat—and then contract—response to cold.

The expansion and contraction can cause your teeth to develop cracks. These cracks can expose the sensitive microscopic tubes that are located under your enamel, leaving you with teeth that are sensitive to temperature changes. Along with this issue, there are a number of other reasons why your teeth are sensitive in the winter months.

Oral Hygiene Practices

Skipping or slacking on oral hygiene can leave you with sensitive teeth as bacteria causes tooth decay and leads to gum recession. However, it can be just as problematic to be too gung-ho when it comes to your oral hygiene practices.

If you brush too hard or are too vigorous while flossing, you can also cause your gums to recede and expose the sensitive roots of your teeth. Also, harsh teeth brushing practices can wear down your enamel, exposing the microscopic tubes in your teeth.

Tooth Decay

The protective enamel of your teeth can be breached by tooth decay. Once the enamel is gone, it will not come back, allowing the decay to progress and make your teeth more sensitive. Untreated treated tooth decay can also spread to the nearby teeth, causing more of your teeth to be sensitive.

Also, if you have old fillings, it may be time to replace your dental fillings. The expansion and contraction of your teeth can cause your old fillings to fit improperly, allowing decay to sneak in. Another potential issue is if your filling has cracked or fallen out, it can leave your tooth vulnerable and more sensitive.


Those who struggle with bruxism—grinding and/or clenching of the teeth—can also end up having sensitive teeth. The pressure of clenching can cause micro-fissures in your teeth, while grinding can wear down the enamel and expose the sensitive dentin and tubes below.

OTC Bleaching Kits

Wanting to have white teeth leads many people to opt for over-the-counter (OTC) bleaching kits. These kits can leave your teeth more sensitive after using them, especially if you bleach your teeth for longer intervals than recommended by the OTC kit.

If you still want white teeth with a much lower risk of sensitivity, professional teeth whitening from our dentists is an ideal option.

Periodontal Disease

Gum disease—also called periodontal disease—causes your gums to recede. As your gums pull back, it exposes the sensitive roots of your teeth. Also, periodontal disease can leave your gums inflamed and sensitive as well as your teeth.

How To Manage Your Sensitive Teeth During A Montana Winter

If you have sensitive teeth and aren’t sure how to protect them, one of the first things you should do is come in for a preventative dental cleaning appointment. You should have these appointments twice a year, as it allows our dental hygienists to clean your teeth, and our dentists can check for any issues that may be causing your sensitivity.

Along with coming in for dental cleanings, here are some other things you can do to manage your sensitive teeth this winter.

  • Fluoride – A naturally-occurring mineral, fluoride has been found to help prevent tooth decay and assist in the re-mineralization of worn-down enamel. Our dentists can provide a fluoride treatment, and you can use toothpaste with fluoride to help reduce sensitivity.
  • Nightguard – With a custom-made nightguard, or even just a boil-and-bite mouthguard, you can protect your teeth from clenching and grinding in your sleep, which is often when bruxism is an issue.
  • Nose breathing – As you step outside into a crisp winter day, try your best to breathe through your nose. When you breathe through your nose, the air is warmed up and moisturized as it makes its way past your teeth. If you breathe through your mouth, your teeth are smacked with all that cold air.
  • Soft-bristle toothbrush – To avoid being too rough on your teeth and gums, be sure to use a soft-bristle toothbrush. It is still possible to brush too hard with one of these brushes, so you may even want to invest in an electric toothbrush. That way, you don’t have to worry about pushing on your teeth to clean them.
  • Sealants – Should you have exposed roots, thin enamel, or other issues that expose the sensitive microtubes in your teeth, sealant treatment can help. Our dentists can coat your teeth in clear sealant to add a protective layer to your teeth that can help reduce your sensitivity.

If you would like our dentists’ help in protecting your sensitive teeth this winter, please contact us today to set up an appointment.

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