Why Your Teeth Need You to Stay Hydrated

Dehydration can lead to a variety of symptoms, but did you know that dehydration can even affect your teeth? The absence of adequate fluid in your body slows down the production of saliva, which causes you to have a dry mouth. A dry mouth can lead to tooth decay because saliva assists in washing away the food particles that feed the bacteria responsible for damaging tooth enamel.

Understanding Dehydration

As the temperature rises, our bodies begin to perspire (sweat). Perspiration is the process our bodies use to cool us off. Since sweat consists mostly of water, dehydration is a huge concern during the summer months. However, there are other issues that can cause dehydration as well: These issues include, fever, diabetes, increased urination, diarrhea, vomiting, excessive exercising and skin injuries.

How Dehydration Affects the Teeth

Just like saliva, water disrupts food particles and washes them away; thus, reducing the build-up of food on your teeth. When food particles are not washed away and sticky plaque is allowed to form on your teeth, the bacteria in your mouth begin to feed. Once the bacteria digest these food particles and/or plaque, they release an acid that eats away at your tooth enamel. The tooth enamel is the hard portion of the outer tooth that protects the softer dentin that lies beneath: Once the tooth enamel is compromised, the dentin becomes vulnerable to the formation of cavities.

Recognizing Dehydration

– Early signs of dehydration may include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Excessive thirst
  • Bad breath
  • Decreased urine output/Dark yellow urine
  • Muscle cramps
  • Dry skin
  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Food cravings

– Signs of severe dehydration can include:

  • The absence of tears when crying
  • Low blood pressure
  • Eyes that appear to be sunken in
  • Little to no urination
  • Confusion
  • Irritability
  • An increased heart rate
  • Unconsciousness
  • Skin has lost its elasticity (does not ‘bounce back’)

Staying Hydrated

By the time you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. While you may be prone to reach for that sugary beverage to quench your thirst, grab a nice, cool glass of water instead. It will help wash away particles and quench your thirst much better than the other not-so-healthy drinks available.  The best way to avoid dehydration is to keep a glass of water on hand and take sips of it all day long.

At Sunshine Smiles, we are dedicated to providing each of our pediatric and special needs patients with the high-quality care they deserve. We are located in central Florida. Our entire staff has experience providing dental services to infants, children, adolescents and individuals with special needs. If you reside along the Space Coast and are in need of a pediatric dentist, please contact our office today at 321-622-6255.