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Autumn chills – and why they make our teeth hurt


The kids are back at school, the evenings are drawing in and the morning air is decidedly fresher. With its rich palette of colours, autumn is a beautiful time of year. Unless, of course, the cool air sets your teeth on edge. If you suffer from a mysterious toothache on those clear, frosty mornings you are not alone. Many others also experience this phenomena and it is definitely not a figment of your imagination. So why is it that that the cool autumn air causes our teeth to hurt? Read on to find all the answers you need.

Temperature control

Our bodies have a built-in temperature control system that ensures vital organs and systems are kept at a perfect 37 degrees Celsius for almost 99% of the time. For the majority of our waking and sleeping hours, our teeth happily enjoy the comfort of our natural body temperature – until that is we shock them by eating an ice-cream or sipping a scalding hot tea or coffee. Another thing that can have the exact same effect is breathing in a mouthful of cold autumn air.

Exposing defects

Whilst normal healthy teeth are unlikely to have a noticeable response to cold air, extreme discomfort can often be experienced in cold weather if you have defects. This may include damaged fillings, defective crowns or bridges which leave sensitive parts of the tooth exposed or cracks in the teeth. If you do find yourself experiencing toothache during the early morning school run, it is worth seeking dental advice.

Gum disease

Oral health issues affecting both teeth and gums can also increase seasonal tooth pain. Periodontal disease can lead to recessed gums, which leave the sensitive base of the teeth exposed. This can be particularly noticeable if it affects your front teeth which often have direct exposure to cold air. Other infections of the teeth and gums will also exaggerate the effects of low temperatures, as will even relatively small cavities in the teeth. Because teeth are porous, any surface damage can cause high levels of pain as cold air penetrates to the more sensitive layers. Again, if you experience such symptoms, we’d recommend consulting your dentist who may recommend a check up.

Mind the gap

A particularly problematic area at this time of year is large gaps that have been caused by missing teeth. A missing tooth can leave the inside edges of the teeth around it exposed to low temperatures. In addition, large metal fillings can become very cold and affect the surrounding tooth in a similar way. There are many options for replacing missing teeth, with dental implants often proving to be an effective and reliable solution.

If in doubt, check them out

Any discomfort or pain in your teeth when going outside in cold weather is a sign that your teeth and gums may be in need of attention and it is advisable to contact your dentist to book a check-up. Even if you are prone to sensitive teeth, do not assume that it is simply the cold and nothing more. A proactive approach is by far the best way to make sure that you keep your teeth and smile in the best possible condition and avoid future problems.

To get professional advice from the team here at Wickersley Dental & Implant Practice, book an appointment now or enquire about becoming a member of our practice here in Rotherham, call us on 01709 543033 or click here to book an appointment online.


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