Winter isn’t coming; it’s already here. While winter in Kentucky may not be as bad as it is in more northern states, we definitely feel its effects.
And some of those things can affect your family’s teeth. It may not be a direct result, but some problems are more common in the winter than in other months.
When we opened Beaumont Family Dentistry in Lexington, we made it a point to include family in the name of our practice. We offer a range of service for patients from newborns to our most senior citizens.
Your oral health, and the oral health of your family, are our priority during the winter and the rest of the year. With that in mind, here are some things you may want to watch for until spring has sprung.
Coughing, colds, and the flu are just a few of the many problems that are more common in the winter months. That means you are more likely to use cough syrup during this time of year, too.
Whether you use cough drops or a liquid cough medicine, keep in mind that many of them contain sucrose and corn syrup. The bacteria in your mouth feed on sugars, and it doesn’t matter what kind.
Some cough syrups also contain citric acids, which can wear down the enamel on your teeth, and the alcohol in some of these medicines may cause dry mouth.
If possible, consider a cough medicine pill instead. This give you the same benefits without the issues that can occur with liquid medicine.
If you do use liquid medicines, take them at the same time you eat your meals. This way you are less likely to experience dry mouth. Saliva also helps rinse away the acids and sugars from your mouth.
And if you have taken liquid medicine, there is a good chance you may have needed multiple doses during the day. This makes it especially important to brush your teeth twice daily and to floss every day.
Cold sores are more common in the winter. This is partly because of the illnesses that are more common at this time of year and partly because of exposure to the more extreme weather conditions.
Fatigue can be a factor, too. (Driveways and sidewalks don’t shovel themselves.)
Keeping your lips moisturized can help reduce your risk of a cold sore.
So how does this affect your oral health? Well, cold sores can be painful. If you get them, you may find it more difficult to do your daily oral health routine. You also may feel discouraged about coming to the dentist due to embarrassment or to avoid that pain.
If you get a cold sore, you can treat it. Antiviral medications and creams will help. Pain relievers can help, and ice can be used to reduce swelling. It’s also important to keep the cold sore moist along with the area around it. This will help the healing process.
One of our favorite treats in the winter is a cup of hot chocolate. It’s even better with marshmallows and a touch of whipped cream.
As delicious as hot cocoa is and as much as it can help you and your family warm up after building a snowman or shoveling the driveway, it’s another way you put sugars into your mouth. Especially when you add the marshmallows and whipped cream.
You may notice your teeth are more sensitive to hot beverages during this time of year, too. This may not be anything to worry about, or it could be a sign that your have worn-down enamel, tooth decay, or gum disease.
This also is a good reason to visit one of our Beaumont Family Dentistry offices for regular cleanings and examinations. You deserve a healthy mouth all year long.
If you and your family come in for routine dental care, we can check for warning signs of oral health issues and get you treatment before they become major problems for you or your children.
Enjoy The Winter, But Protect Your Teeth
We encourage you to get out and enjoy the fun that only happens in the winter. Have a snowball fight with your kids. Build that snowman or a whole family of them.
Make snow angels, and when you are done, warm up with hot chocolate.
And remember that you need to keep up your oral hygiene.
That means continuing to brush for two minutes, twice a day, every day. Also, clean between your teeth and gums on a daily basis with dental floss or another interdental devices.
And last, but not least, schedule and keep your appointments for cleanings at Beaumont Family Dentistry. You can plan your visit to any of our Lexington offices by calling or making an appointment online.
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