Can Cold Weather Make Teeth Hurt?

Posted on December 15, 2015 in General oral health

Just like a bite of ice cream or a sip of ice water, cold weather can make teeth hurt! There are a few reasons teeth may become especially sensitive to temperature changes:

  • Sensitivity typically occurs when dentin, the tissue that makes up the core of each tooth, is exposed. A protective coating of enamel usually covers dentin, and the gums usually cover the root. However, when the enamel wears away or decays, the dentin – which has its own nerve fibers – becomes vulnerable to sensations, including pain.
  • In some cases, periodontal (gum) disease – an infection of the gums and bone that support the teeth – may also be responsible for sensitivity. Periodontal disease (or sometimes just brushing too vigorously) can cause gum recession – resulting in an exposed tooth root that is often very sensitive to cold.
  • Clenching or grinding teeth may also cause sensitivity. In these cases, dentists often recommend a mouthguard to prevent damage.

Whatever the cause, your dentist can measure the severity of the problem by spraying air across each area of your teeth to determine the exact location of sensitivity. They may recommend various products to help, including desensitizing toothpastes, strips and mouth rinses.

In cases in which hypersensitivity is severe, persistent and cannot be treated by other means, your dentist may recommend a filling to eliminate the problem.

Tooth sensitivity may be a sign of undetected tooth decay. If your teeth are feeling extra sensitive for an extended period of time, make an appointment with your dentist to diagnose the problem and find some relief.1