Comfort Eating And Other Dental Health Pitfalls Of Colder Weather

Advice for our Chelmsford patients regarding the winter months ahead

Wondering about tooth careIt probably doesn’t seem that long ago when we were warning you about the risks to your teeth of summer does it? The cold drinks and ice creams potentially damaging our teeth were discussed in this blog but those days probably seem a long time ago now, especially with the recent heavy rain that the country has experienced.

The colder winter months are certainly here to stay for a while, and though ice creams may be well down the agenda, there are still plenty of things to watch out for if we want to keep our teeth strong and healthy during winter.

Take care with what you eat

Especially if we spend a large amount of our time outdoors, our bodies require energy to keep us warm. Although we can reduce the energy intake during the warmer months, eating salads and light meals, when the colder weather comes, we tend to reach for those which provide more energy.

These high energy meals don’t have to be harmful for our teeth, with stews and hearty soups being a good example. Especially where we are time poor though, we are very likely to go for convenience foods that are quick and easy and require just a few minutes in the microwave.

Although the quality of the food may vary from product to product, if you take a look at the labels, you will find that most of them contain sugar, and often in relatively high quantities. These ‘hidden’ sugars are just as bad for your teeth (and your weight) as the sugar that you see if you put it in your tea or coffee. Whilst making your own meals is best, if you really don’t have the time, make sure to check the labels and choose the meals that are lowest in sugar.

Cakes and biscuits

It isn’t just the hidden sugars in savoury meals that can harm our teeth. We all know that cakes and biscuits are very high in sugar, but especially when we look out of the window into the pouring rain, what is more comforting than a hot cup of tea or coffee and a slice of cake … or two slices .. or …….

We know that cakes, biscuits and pastries are bad for us generally and for our teeth, but these comfort foods can have the effect of making us feel better when the weather is miserable. Given that few of us that do eat cake are unlikely to stop doing so at times such as this, what can patients of Blue Sky Dental do to improve the situation?

  • Choose cakes that have a lower sugar content or that use tooth friendly sugar substitutes
  • Try not to ‘snack’ too often on cake as this doesn’t allow time for saliva to wash away the sugar and bacteria. Ironically, you are better off eating one large piece of cake than several smaller ones throughout the day
  • If possible, eat cakes etc when you are due to brush your teeth an hour or so afterwards. We do not recommend brushing your teeth each time you eat a small piece of cake as too much brushing can cause enamel wear
  • To remove some of the sugar from your teeth after eating, swill water around your mouth to dislodge pieces that may have become trapped

Tooth sensitivity

There are some people who dread the onset of winter, and especially those days where the temperature really drops.  These are often people whose teeth are very sensitive to hot and cold. Whilst they may be able to generally ‘manage’ any potential discomfort by allowing their food and drink to reach a moderate temperature before consumption, we can’t control the weather in the same way.

Patients may wrap scarves around their mouth which might help for shorter journeys, but where you are out for any length of time, you are likely to have to remove it to speak to people. Condensation is also a problem and what starts out as a comfortable covering ends up cold and wet and pretty uncomfortable.

The best way to avoid the problem of sensitive teeth is to look after them well, keeping the protective enamel strong and healthy. Where the enamel has already become thinner through erosion, and your teeth have become sensitive, a possible long term solution is fitting porcelain dental veneers. These are used to replace the damaged enamel of your teeth and will not only protect them from sensitivity but also possibly decay too. In addition to this, they are a great way of achieving an attractive smile!

We may dislike winter but there is little that we can do about it unless perhaps we are in the fortunate position of being able to escape to warmer climes. We hope that patients of Blue Sky Dental do all that they can to keep their teeth healthy at this time of year.

It goes without saying that the usual oral health care standards still apply, with regular brushing, flossing and professional dental care being essential. If you would like to make an appointment to see one of our dentists, you can call our Chelmsford clinic on 01245 211070. We look forward to welcoming you!

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