Dental effects of a cold

Man sneezing into tissue paper

The common cold- it’s getting to that time of year when more people catch a cold. On top of a sore throat, stuffy nose, headache and fever; you may find yourself with sore teeth to contend with. Often when we have a cold, our sinuses (the air spaces in our cheeks and forehead) get blocked up with mucus. The roots of the upper teeth sit close to these sinuses and can be sensitive to that change in pressure. Try a steam inhalation to unclog the sinuses and reduce some of the pressure.

When we are physically cold, a natural response is for the muscles to clench, this includes the muscles in the face and jaws. This can lead to aching jaws and sensitive teeth, they may even be tender when you try to chew hard foods. Try to keep warm and soothe sore muscles with a relaxing heat pack.

When the nose is blocked we resort to breathing through our mouths, this leads to a dry mouth which is a two-fold problem; it causes bad breath, and makes teeth more susceptible to decay as there is reduced saliva to protect them. Keep well hydrated with plenty of water, and be extra thorough when you brush your teeth.

To avoid other household members getting sick – make sure you use a different tube of toothpaste (e.g. a travel size) to avoid contamination. And finally, when you are feeling better, make sure you replace your toothbrush.