The best thing you can do this summer is drink water.
You see, all of the other plans you have for the season – going back to the gym, picking up a sport, hiking your favorite trails – have one thing in common: If you’re not properly hydrated, then you’re going to have a bad time no matter what you do.
To be fair, dehydration can strike at any time of the year, but nowhere is that threat greater than during the heat of summer. The symptoms can range from the mild (headache, dizziness, fatigue) to the major (coma, seizure, even death), so it’s important for your body’s sake that you – or, if you have a budding athlete in your family, your loved ones – consume as much fluids as you need to in order to avoid dry mouth.
Speaking of dry mouth, chronic dehydration, whether you realize it or not, can have serious implications on the health of your smile.
The primary reason? Why, it’s certainly nothing to spit at.
Indeed, saliva is an important part of the ecosystem that is your mouth, and is responsible for a host of preventive measures going on in your smile right under your nose. If you or a member of your family are failing to drink enough water on a regular basis, then saliva production will be seriously threatened, if not outright stalled.
When this happens, your smile is skating on some of the thinnest ice imaginable.
Now let’s take a look at the top 5 worst consequences of having a dry mouth, shall we?
1. Brittle Teeth – Believe it or not, saliva helps keep your teeth strong. They contain trace amounts of calcium and other minerals which studies have shown actually help repair your tooth enamel. Yet if you’re constantly dehydrated, your teeth won’t be getting all of the nourishment which they were designed to receive.
2. Increased Cavities – Saliva also acts as a solution, allowing it to break down food particles which can become lodged in your smile between brushings. Further, saliva has antibacterial properties that inhibit the growth of bacterial colonies in your mouth which could, in a dehydrated mouth, accelerate tooth decay due to the increased presence of acids.
3. Higher Chance of Oral Infection – As with cavities, an inadequate amount of saliva will more easily allow bacteria or fungus to infest the vulnerable soft tissues in your mouth. The increased presence of acids will also serve as fuel for bacteria, essentially giving them a full-on buffet inside your mouth. Not exactly the kind of party you want to be invited to, to say the least.
4. More Easily Stained Teeth – As I’ve already mentioned, saliva acts like a solution, which is a substance that breaks down other substances. Without enough saliva, it’s more likely that tiny particles from your favorite foods and drinks will cling to your teeth, eventually staining them. This can be made worse if you’re not brushing and flossing as regularly as you should?
5. Bad Breath – Nobody likes being around someone with chronic bad breath, but as long as you are chronically dehydrated, that’s unfortunately very likely to happen. The increased presence of acids and bacteria in your mouth due to dehydration will cause your breath to take on a less-than-pleasant aroma that can be very difficult to get rid of.
But it’s item #3 that should have you most worried.
That’s because the conditions of a dry mouth (especially when combined with a lack of regular oral hygiene) are perfect for a case of gum disease to take hold and to begin destroying your smile from the inside out.
In the short- to medium-term, gum disease will warp the shape of your gums, give you bad breath, and cause your gums to bleed at the slightest provocation. Longterm, you could lose one or several teeth, experience constant pain in your mouth, and even develop a number of related diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and more.
Should that happen, you need to make an appointment with your Nashua dentist for a nonsurgical gum disease treatment. For most cases, a planing and root scaling procedure will be adequate. For extreme cases, I can use a special, gum-safe laser that targets infected tissue and eradicates it.
But the best thing you can do? Drink plenty of water, brush twice a day, and floss daily.
To learn more about these risks, or to see where your smile stands in the grand scheme of things, call me at (603) 546-7460, or fill out this simple web form and we’ll get right back with you!