When it comes to the connection between summer and overall health, we tend to hear about two main concerns: skin cancer and dehydration.
Obviously, it’s important to protect our skin from the harmful effects of ultraviolet rays. Consequently, it’s become second nature to stock up on sunscreen before we head to the checkout line at the drugstore once summer arrives.
Equally as important is staying well-hydrated. No matter what the season, we know how critical it is to our health to get plenty of water everyday. If you become dehydrated, you risk fatigue, dizziness, or headaches. Severe dehydration is an even more dangerous threat to your health because it can lead to heat stroke or death.
For today’s blog, our team at Restorative & Implant Dentistry wants to take a closer look at the issue of dehydration as it relates to your oral health specifically. While it’s important to drink enough water every day of the year, it’s especially crucial during the heat of summer. Why?
Because summer calls us to enjoy the outdoors. You’re out in the sun more, you’re more active, and consequently, you’re sweating a lot more and losing essential fluids. So let’s get down to the business of dry mouth, one of the main threats dehydration poses to your oral health.
Why Drool Is Cool!
To fully understand why dry mouth is such a concern for dentists, you need to appreciate the value of your spit. Yes, saliva plays a surprisingly important role in helping you maintain healthy teeth and gums.
Under normal circumstances, a healthy mouth produces adequate amounts of saliva. Saliva works as a protective barrier between your teeth and gums and the harmful bacteria that live in your mouth.
So here are some of the common dental problems that a dry mouth can cause:
Dry Mouth Can Weaken Your Teeth
Research shows us that saliva helps keep your teeth nice and strong. That’s because it contains trace minerals and calcium that protect, strengthen, and repair your tooth enamel. If you don’t get enough water into your body, though, you’re not effectively supporting saliva production, and thus, your enamel lacks that essential nourishment.
Dry Mouth Can Cause Cavities
Saliva is almost like your body’s natural rinsing agent. It helps to wash away food particles, sugars, and other debris from what you eat and drink. When your mouth is dry, bacteria that live in your mouth now have plenty of debris to feed off of so that it can create the harmful acids that lead to erosion. Tooth enamel that’s been eaten away is too weak to protect your teeth from decay and cavities.
Dry Mouth Can Cause Oral Infection
To ride the wave of weakened tooth enamel, bacteria will then have better access to your now defenseless soft inner tissues and nerves of your teeth. This puts you at a much greater risk for oral infections.
Dry Mouth Can Lead To Teeth Stains
When you have dry mouth, you don’t have enough saliva to coat your teeth. Because of that, all the dark pigments from certain foods and drinks can more easily stick to and stain the surfaces of your teeth. Staying properly hydrated can help you avoid such stains and discoloration.
Dry Mouth Can Cause Bad Breath
Dry mouth doesn’t just threaten the health of your smile. It threatens your breath in a big way. Again, saliva is your body’s way of washing away the junk left behind after a meal or a beverage. If you don’t have enough saliva to wash it away, then you can imagine how quickly all that junk can build up and begin to stink!
So in many cases, simply doubling up on your water intake can help you fight bad breath just as well, if not better, than chewing sugarless gum or sucking on mints can.
So when it comes to summer and your oral health, our best advice is to keeping brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and making sure you’re staying well-hydrated while you’re out having fun in the sun!
Do you have questions about dry mouth? Are you drinking plenty of water yet still dealing with this uncomfortable issue? Restorative & Implant Dentistry offers dry mouth treatment and can help you find solutions to what might be causing it.