With us being in the middle of winter, the spring is just around the corner. I wanted to go over some tips on what to do during the cold months to make life more comfortable. In the winter our furnaces are kicked on high and with that is usually a dry heat. The problem is that furnace humidifiers don’t release enough water into the air to significantly humidify it. I recommend a stand-alone humidifier that is put in the bedroom. There are a couple of reasons why I recommend it.

  1. Humidified air transfers heat much more efficiently and it not only feels better preventing dryness on the skin, but saves energy. Consider the heat in the summer in Michigan compared to Arizona. Michigan is humid and Arizona is dry. 100 degrees feels different in each of these climates because of the humidity difference.
  2. When sleeping, saliva flow decreases which can reduce the moisture in the mouth. Considering that many medications reduce the production of saliva coupled with the fact that the air is very dry leads to a parched mouth. The simple solution is to moisturize the air, making it more comfortable to sleep, especially if one is a mouth breather.

In the winter it is obviously much colder and if one breathes through their mouth outside it is more possible to feel a “zing” in the teeth. These can be signs of a more significant problem. It can be a sign of tooth decay and even nerve involvement. It can also be a sign of just sensitive teeth. Information regarding the intensity and length of pain are helpful in diagnosing the status of the nerve. When visiting the dentist for a toothache, it is common to apply heat or cold to the area. A normal tooth will feel the cold and even if they are sensitive there may be a blast of pain but it disappears immediately. If the nerve is in the process of dying the pain will linger on more than a couple of seconds. The pain will also differ in that it will change from a sharp pain to a dull throbbing pain. If the pain was a dull throbbing pain in the past this is not a good sign. It is a sign that the nerve is in the process of dying and an infection is present. Infections like this can be very serious and even life threatening so getting it treated by either extraction or saving the tooth with a root canal is important and urgent.

I know that I request questions and I actually receive few of them. If you have questions about dentistry Please submit them to “Ask the Gentle Dentist” 15055 22 Mile, Shelby Township, MI 48315.