The winter season brings tasty goodies, cocoa while you’re getting cozy by the fire, and time with family. But it also tends to bring about oral health problems, usually exacerbating existing dental issues. Dr. Stephen A. Coates, DDS shares more about common winter oral health issues, treatments, and oral hygiene tips.

Winter Dental Woes

Chapped Lips

Roaring wind, the sun, and chilly air can dry the thin skin of your lips. Make sure you use lip balm that contains sunscreen when you step out to protect your lips!

Cold Sores

Viruses, colds, and fevers trigger cold sores, and so can the wintry weather. To combat this:

  1. Use a moisturizer on the skin around your mouth and a lip balm with sunscreen on your lips.
  2. Keep your hands clean, and if you have a cold sore on the horizon, start treating it immediately with over-the-counter products.
  3. If you regularly get cold sores, ask your doctor or dentist about possible treatment options.

Canker Sores

As the air dries out the tissues in your mouth, those tissues are more likely to suffer injury or infections. However, the saliva usually present in the mouth significantly reduces bacteria and food particles. If you develop canker sores, rinse with warm salt water to help with the pain.

Sensitive Teeth

Cold temperatures can cause tooth sensitivity from the foods you eat, the beverages you drink, and the frigid air. Grinding, aggressive flossing, and gum disease can also cause tooth sensitivity.

Gum Infections

Winter illnesses weaken the immune system, allowing bacteria to grow, leading to infections and inflammation. To help ward off this bacteria, practice good dental hygiene each day. If you find your gums swollen or painful, make an appointment with your dentist today!


Temporomandibular Joint disorder causes your joints to tense up and unfortunately, wintry weather can worsen this condition. Use a scarf around your jaw to keep it warm.

Damaged Fillings

Fillings can weaken and break, causing extreme sensitivity to the tooth. Your dentist can identify any signs of damage to prevent further issues.

Treatment Options

When the winter weather is giving your teeth the blues, schedule an appointment with your dentist to discuss your dental problems, get a cleaning, and get X-rays to identify any issues. Your dentist can treat your oral health issues by:

Replacing Your Fillings

Fillings that have become damaged need to be replaced. Your dentist may decide that a crown is more appropriate for the tooth’s structure.

Changing Your Cleanings

Fluoride, when added to your dental cleanings, can help to protect against cold weather sensitivity. Your dentist can also recommend the right toothpaste for sensitive teeth.

Caring for Your Teeth

You should practice good oral hygiene all year long, but you should take particular care in the winter. Make sure that you:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day
  • Floss daily
  • Replace your toothbrush each quarter and after an illness
  • Have your dental checkup and cleaning at least twice each year
  • Hydrate and eat healthy foods

Schedule Your Appointment Before Dental Benefits Expire

When you experience sensitivity and pain during the winter months, make sure you use your yearly dental benefits before they expire. Schedule your dental checkup and cleaning appointment with Dr. Stephen A. Coates, DDS, today!