Why do cold air and cold liquids hurt my teeth?

Cheyenne Mountain Dental/Tooth Pain

Tooth Pain

I thought you would never ask!  It seems that the cold weather we in the north  have been having is a good test of how healthy our teeth are.  Normally if we drink something cold or breath in cold air are teeth respond to the cold on them by letting us know that something cold has been detected.  The teeth don’t start to complain and 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 one of the teeth has a nerve disease called irreversible ( won’t get better ) pulpitis (nerve disease).

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 as I am sure you already know.

Breathing abnormally cold air through the mouth can cause the teeth to contract and then expand again when heated back to body temperature.  Over time, this causes  the teeth to develop numerous small cracks in the enamel that weaken the teeth.

Some teeth are sensitive not only to cold stimuli but they are also sensitive  to even mildly cooler temperatures of food or drink.  This discomfort does not last long and usually only affects the nerve because the microscopic nerve endings on the roots have been exposed by brushing too hard or using too hard of a brush.  It can be quite painful during the moments after the nerve endings have been touched however.  Treatment can be as simple as using a soft tooth brush and desensitizing tooth paste to the use of special coatings that the dentist or hygienist applies to the exposed sensitive areas to block the pain.

Try the tooth paste at first and after a few weeks if you haven’t gotten relief schedule an appointment to have desensitizing coatings placed on the teeth.  Left untreated you get to keep having to avoid touching the affected teeth with anything that changes your mouth temperature or if you forget, you get pain.

Should you be experiencing any of the above symptoms give me a call today (719-576-1730) and  I will evaluate your teeth at no cost to you.  If you liked this post you will find several other posts on this website that will be of interest to you.

Your trusted Authority,

Dr. Ralph Parkin DMD

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2 Responses to Why do cold air and cold liquids hurt my teeth?

  1. Hello Virginia,
    Since I can’t actually see your teeth, I will be limited to possible causes. Teeth, under the outer shell of enamel are
    composed of a material called dentin which has extremely small tubules that extend from the nerve of the tooth to the underside edge
    of the enamel. If through brushing a little too hard or with a toothbrush that is too hard the enamel over one or more of these
    tubules is exposed to the air it will be irritated and cause pain. Another possibility is sensitivity due to fillings that are
    deep enough so as to be close to the nerve. Temperature changes are not appreciated by the tooth nerve and could be the cause of
    your tooth pain. It would be beneficial if the dentist could simulate the condition you are experiencing and perhaps narrow it down
    to a single tooth whose nerve is compromised. That tooth could be treated and life would be good again. Hope this helps.

  2. virginia sefa-boakye says:

    i have been having some severe pains in my tooth when the whether is cold but i have been to the dentist several times and I’ve been told there is nothing wrong with my tooth yet still i have the pain. can you please help me

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