Is cold weather making your teeth hurt?

As temperatures drop, many people with sensitive teeth experience increased pain.

Often times when patient’s teeth already hurt, exposing them to cold winter air can be just as painful as consuming hot and cold foods and beverages, according to the Academy of General Dentistry.

Normally if we drink something cold or breathe in cold air our teeth respond to the cold on them by letting us know that something cold has been detected. Teeth are usually in temperatures of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, however, your teeth are frequently exposed to temperatures warmer or colder than body temperatures while eating. Additionally, when we are outside, the cold air or winter can wreak havoc with your mouth. Breathing abnormally cold air through the mouth can cause teeth to contract and then expand again when heated back to body temperature, which can result in pain.

Clenching your jaw when you’re out and not realizing it can also result in pain. Some people tend to tense up in the cold trying to keep warm, while others have dental problems that may require a visit to their dentist.

Why does cold air hurt my teeth?

The pain that you feel in your teeth is caused by the movement of fluid within the tiny tubes located in the dentin (The hard tissue that makes up the core of each tooth. It’s the part of a tooth that lies underneath the enamel), which results in nerve irritation when exposed. In the winter months, breathe in and out through your nose whenever possible, when you are outdoors in cold weather because breathing cold air through the mouth can often make your teeth sensitive. The lips, cheek and tongue tend to insulate your teeth from the cold if your mouth is closed.

The teeth don’t start to ache unless we leave something very cold on them for a short while. When the cold is removed by swallowing or warming up the liquid or by not breathing through our mouths the sensation goes away. At least it does if the teeth are healthy. If the cold sensation persists or causes an ache or worse, there is a good chance that the pain is being caused by one of the following reasons listed below.

Here are the top reasons for cold weather induced pain in your mouth:

Defective fillings where the gaps are open

Defective crown or bridge margins with damages from food and mouth acids.

Cracked teeth

Recessed gums from periodontal disease

Bite problems

Tooth grinding or clenching

Infected teeth or gums

Teeth are porous and sensitive


Periodontal disease

Large metal fillings

If you find that your teeth are sensitive to cold air, you can do something about it. To start off, you can make sure to practice proper oral hygiene. Then you can switch to toothpaste or fluoride mouthwash, that’s specifically made to combat sensitivity. Also using a soft tooth brush can be very helpful. You might also request that your dentist or hygienist apply a fluoride coating to your teeth at your next visit. This application to the exposed sensitive areas helps to block the pain that you may be experiencing.

In addition, you may wish to ask your dentist about wearing a bite guard which helps reduce the pressure your teeth.

Don’t Go Untreated!

Leaving tooth pain go untreated could possibly lead to more extensive dental treatments. The best way to deal with pain in your teeth from cold weather is to take preventative measures. Remember to call your dentist or orthodontist today to schedule a consultation for your specific dental needs.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment