Does Your Mouth Have the Winter Blues?

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. In severe cases, the area around the mouth gets red and raw this is called lip lickers dermatitis.


The most important treatment of lip licker’s dermatitis is to stop licking the lips. Regular use of a bland emollient (like Vaseline or Acquaphor) is helpful. Hourly application during the day may be necessary. Parents might need to apply a liberal amount at bedtime. A short course of a topical immunomodulator (tacrolimus ointment or pimecrolimuscream) can hasten resolution of the lesion if treatment with Vaseline is not successful.


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.

Leave a Reply