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Oral health during winter: problems & care tips

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You probably know that dropping temperatures, biting wind and a drier climate can wreak havoc on your skin. But did you know that exposure to colder weather can put you at increased risk for developing common dental problems, too? Being aware of the winter dental woes below — along with practicing good oral hygiene — can help keep your mouth clean and healthy throughout the season.

Cold Sores

These small blisters around your lips can be triggered by stress, fatigue — and cold weather. Keep your lips moisturized to help minimize cold sore breakouts, wash your hands often and try to avoid touching your mouth.

Canker Sores

Canker sores tend to peak during dry winter months and can be aggravated even more by exposure to spicy and acidic foods. Rinsing your mouth with a mixture of warm water and salt may help ease symptoms.

Chapped Lips

It's hard to avoid exposing your mouth to wind, cold and sun while enjoying your favorite outdoor activities, but cooler weather can quickly dry the thin skin on your lips. Soothe dry, cracked lips by applying a bit of petroleum jelly, and protect lips from damaging UV rays by applying a lip balm containing SPF several times a day.

Dry Mouth

Less moisture in the air can lead to less saliva production and a feeling of dry mouth. Drink plenty of water to keep your mouth hydrated and consider placing a humidifier in your home to increase moisture in the air.

Tooth Sensitivity

Breathing in cold winter air, and consuming hot or cold drinks can lead to tooth pain. To help relieve discomfort, try brushing your teeth with a toothpaste especially for sensitive teeth.

Gum Infection

Winter colds and weaker immune systems can leave your gums more vulnerable to inflammation and infection. To help keep germs away, try to avoid touching your mouth, and continue to keep up good oral hygiene habits.

More Tips for a Healthy Mouth

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day
  • Floss your teeth daily
  • Replace your toothbrush every three to four months
  • Visit your dentist twice a year for a checkup and cleaning
  • Drink plenty of water and eat a healthy diet
  • Contact your dentist with any symptoms or concerns

Good oral hygiene is an important step to keeping your teeth and gums healthy — and preventing other health issues. Contact your dentist if you experience any dental problems, including tooth or gum pain. Remember that your CareCredit credit card provides a convenient way to pay for care not covered by insurance. Use the Provider Locator to find a nearby dentist who accepts your CareCredit card.

"Four Common Dental Problems During Winter and How to Avoid Them," All About Smiles General Dentistry, Dec. 23, 2014,, accessed Sept. 13, 2017
"Winter Tips for a Healthy Mouth: Dealing with Common Winter Mouth Woes," by Jae Curtis, Colgate Oral Care Center,, accessed on Sept. 13, 2017
"Toothbrush Care: Cleaning, Storing and Replacement," American Dental Association, updated Nov. 2011,, accessed Sept. 28, 2017
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