When you get cold, you may notice your body begins to shiver. As your jaw shivers and shakes, your teeth smack against each other. This action, called chattering, helps your body stay warm. How much do you know about chattering?
1. What is your normal, steady body temperature?
- A. 95.3
- B. 98.6
- C. 100.2
2. What causes chattering?
- A. Your jaw begins to shiver
- B. Your teeth freeze
- C. You can see your breath
3. What should you do when your teeth begin to chatter?
- A. Play outside in the cold
- B. Visit the dentist
- C. Warm up your body
Answers and Explanations
- B. The hypothalamus part of your brain controls your body temperature to keep it steady at 98.6. When your body temperature drops, your brain sends a message to tell your body to warm up.
- A. Muscle contractions help restore your body heat and produce shivering. Chattering is your mouth’s way of shivering.
- C. When you notice your body begins to feel cold, warm up as quickly as possible. Wear lots of layers if you plan to spend time outdoors in the cold weather. Hot beverages like tea, hot cocoa, and coffee can warm you up, but beware of their dental hazards, like staining and decay.
Other tooth-friendly reminders for cold weather—drink lots of water to prevent dry lips and skin, and wear a mouth guard when skiing, ice skating, or practicing other winter sports.
Chattering is a completely normal response to cold weather, but frequent and excessive tooth chattering can hurt your mouth. If your mouth shakes too much, it could strain your facial muscles and cause jaw aches. In addition, if your teeth knock too hard, they could become sensitive and weak.