Staying hydrated is not only essential for your body but also for your smile. Now that spring has begun, you’re going to see the sun more; this means you’re going to sweat more, and excessive sweating can lead to dehydration. Dehydration can cause dizziness and fatigue, and it can also harm your smile.
Continue reading to learn how dehydration can result in mouth problems.
Why Is Dehydration Harmful to My Dental Health?
Saliva production plays a critical role in your dental health. It helps clear away bacteria, food, maintains soft tissues, and serves your mouth’s bloodstream. Dry mouth occurs when you’re not producing enough saliva, resulting in dehydration. A lack of saliva can create an ideal breeding ground for bacteria, leading to cavities and infections.
Learn more about the importance of staying hydrated as it pertains to your oral health.
Why is Saliva Important?
Although reading about saliva isn’t the most exciting way to spend your time, it’s important to understand why saliva production is crucial. Saliva helps you:
- Freshen up your breath: You may be surprised to learn this, but saliva helps keep your breath fresh by continuously washing your teeth, gums, and tongue. On the other hand, a dry mouth can result in bad breath (halitosis).
- Whiten your teeth: Saliva reduces stains by rinsing off food and drink before they can decay your enamel.
- Strengthen your enamel: Saliva produces fluoride, calcium, and phosphate ions for your enamel. Not only does this strengthen your teeth, but it can also lead to microscopic dental repairs.
- Prevent gum disease: Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is caused by plaque and bacteria build-up. Saliva can reduce this build-up by washing away bacteria.
Since dry mouth is usually the first tell-tale symptom of dehydration, it gives you a head start on replenishing, which can reduce oral health problems.
Symptoms of Dehydration that Impact Your Mouth
Dry mouth isn’t the only symptom of dehydration. Here are other symptoms that can affect your oral health:
- Bad breath
- Cracked lips
- Sticky or dry tongue
- Swollen tongue
- Flaking skin around the mouth
- Teeth pain
- Swollen gums
- Bleeding gums when you brush or floss your teeth
- Receding gum line
If you experience multiple symptoms, you must visit your dentist or oral surgeon immediately because they may signify a larger problem.
How Can I Combat Dry Mouth?
The best way to keep dry mouth at bay is to drink sufficient water every day so that you’re continuously producing saliva. We recommend you drink 30 to 50 ounces of water per day, which is approximately 1.5 liters.
Other ways to prevent dry mouth include:
- Chewing: Whether you’re munching on sugar-free gum or you’re eating breakfast, chewing causes your mouth’s muscles to compress and release saliva.
- Limiting caffeine, alcohol, and salt intake: These products dry out your mouth.
- Using a humidifier: This device increases humidity in the air, helping you breathe better.
Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah Can Help
If you’re experiencing oral health problems due to chronic dehydration, you should consult with an oral surgeon. The board-certified oral surgeons at Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah can help you find relief. We specialize in tooth extraction, dental implant insertion, bone grafting, corrective jaw surgery, and more.
We understand you may be practicing social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but we want you to know we’re here for you. Your dental health can’t wait, and we’re taking extra precautions to ensure our patients stay safe. Reach out to us if you have any questions.