Teeth Chattering in the Cold

The cold weather is upon us, and you need to keep your body warm. When you’re cold, you may notice your body shivers and your jaw shakes, causing your teeth to bump against each other. This action, called chattering, helps your body stay warm.

What is chattering?

The hypothalamus part of your brain helps keep your body temperature steady at 98.6. When your body temperature drops to make you feel cold, your brain sends a message to your body to warm up. Muscle contractions help restore your body heat and produce shivering. Your lower jaw shakes and moves up and down, and when your teeth knock against each other, it produces a noise called chattering, which is your mouth’s way of shivering.

Chattering and Dental Health

Chattering makes your jaw muscles work. If you have temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), chattering may make the condition more painful. Extreme chattering can cause jaw aches from the constant movement of the muscles. In addition, if your teeth are hitting too hard, they could chip. If you chatter frequently, the knocking could wear down your teeth and cause sensitivity. In addition, if your teeth hit each other unevenly, it could cause you to develop a bite misalignment.

Protect Your Mouth in the Cold

It’s important to keep your body warm and hydrated in the wintertime. Hot beverages like tea and coffee can warm you up, but beware of their teeth staining. Water is always the best choice to drink, even in the cold. Water helps keep your body moist to prevent your mouth, skin, and lips from drying out. Make sure you wear warm layers of clothes. If you participate in winter sports like skiing, ice skating, or snowboarding, wear a mouth guard like you would for summer activities. Slipping on ice can knock out a tooth.

For more advice on how to keep your mouth safe this winter, visit Dr. Stewart. Contact our dental office in Livonia, MI at 734.425.4400 to schedule an appointment. We welcome families from the surrounding areas of Farmington Hills, Plymouth, Novi, Dearborn, Redford, and other nearby communities.