When it gets cold outside, your skin isn’t the only part of your body that can get damaged from the drier weather. While you’re devoting the winter to playing in the snow and enjoying the company of your family, some of your favourite behaviours could inflict havoc upon your mouth and lips.

It’s important to appreciate winter in as many ways as you can, but being conscious of some winter tips for a healthy mouth can guarantee that yours stays clean throughout the season. Keep a lookout for the following typical cold weather complaints.

Related: Tips to Protect Your Children From Dental Injuries

Dry or Chapped Lips

Ask anyone who just spent a day in the mountains, and they’ll say chapped lips are not anything to take lightly. Extreme exposure to wind, cold and sun produces the ideal setting for dry lips. And you don’t need to be a mountaineer, either. Even simple exposure to these elements can harm the delicate skin on your lips, so do your best to keep them protected. Wear a lip balm that contains at least SPF 20 and apply it liberally. You can also ward off chapped lips by consuming plenty of water to hydrate your skin, and buying a humidifier for your home to add some extra moisture at night. If you are already experiencing chapped lips, keep them extra hydrated so they heal quicker. Vaseline is a great and cheap way to lock in moisture.

Related: The Truth About Mouth Ulcers or Mouth Sores

Canker Sores

If you have been experiencing more canker sores than normal, indulging in your most desired winter treats might be the cause. Experts note that foods with high acid levels can be a sure formula for canker sores, so if you’ve been drinking hot cocoa or snacking on spicy treats during the holidays, canker sores may not be far behind. The best bet is to completely avoid acidic and spicy foods. This can help prevent canker sores, but if you’re already in distress, try rinsing with a mixture of one teaspoon of salt and a half-cup of water to help cleanse the sores for more rapid healing. Alcohol-free solutions can also be utilized to relieve pain and hurry the healing process without irritating delicate mouths.

Related: When Should My Child Have Their First Dentist Visit?

Herpes and Cold Sores

Repeated exposure to the unforgiving winter sun can cause cold sore breakouts. In addition, spending time outdoors during the winter can absolutely trigger cold sores at the worst time possible – Christmas dinner, for example. When combating cold sores, the best winter tip for a healthy mouth is to ensure that the skin around your lips is protected. Continue to use sun-blocking products, and try to keep your hands clean as well, which will help you to avoid the spread of viral bacteria. Stress is also a normal cause of oral breakouts. Keeping your stress level down by taking work breaks and getting sufficient nights of sleep can help to diminish these blemishes over time.

Related: What is Emergency Dental Care?

Are you looking for a dentist? Well, new patients are always welcome at Dr. Jason Harvey’s office. We pledge to treat you with the same respect and care that we do for each of our valued clients.