- June 11, 2017
It’s easy to get dehydrated in the summer. Sure, the temperature in New Hampshire isn’t likely to top 100 degrees like Arizona or Florida, but it’s still very warm. Plus, summer is when you head outside for hikes, ball games, swimming, and more.
You’ll end up losing a lot of your body’s water while staying active, and that can be a problem. Dehydration can lead to dental health problems like cavities, gum disease, and more. That’s why you need to call our Nashua, NH dental office today at 603-546-7460 and schedule your next appointment. Our Nashua dentists have the training and experience needed to spot and treat any such problems, but you need to come in first.
What Saliva Does For Your Dental Health
Dehydration can cause a lot of problems. It can lead to muscle cramps, dizziness, irritability, headaches, and more. But it can also hurt your smile because it robs you of your saliva.
Saliva is much more than what helps you chew your food. It plays several roles in keeping your teeth and gums healthy. Here’s what saliva does for you:
- Washes away food particles. Every time you eat or drink, a tiny portion of food or drink gets trapped on your teeth and gums. The harmful bacteria in your mouth feed on those particles, especially sugar and carbs. Saliva helps wash them away, helping keep those bacteria from growing too fast.
- Keeps your enamel strong. Saliva as a small amount of calcium and other minerals in it. When you keep your teeth wet with saliva, this helps strengthen the enamel.
- Inhibit stains. Although saliva won’t prevent your teeth from getting stained by dark foods and drinks, it will help wash some of those off your teeth to slow the process.
- Keeps your breath cleaner. Food particles can start to smell when trapped in your mouth. Saliva keeps washing some of those particles away, helping keep your breath fresher than it normally would.
Summer is a particularly bad time for saliva. Not only does the heat and running around dehydrate you, summer is full of sweet treats like bbq sauce, ice cream, lemonade, corn-on-the-cob, and more. That means you’ll have extra sugar and carbs coating your teeth but less saliva to get rid of them.
Dental Risks With Dehydration
Here are the specific dental risks that come from being dehydrated this summer.
Because you have dry mouth due to dehydration, you don’t have the saliva to wash away sugar, carbs, and other particles of food. That’s like laying out a buffet for harmful bacteria that cause tooth decay. Your chances of getting a cavity go up when you are dehydrated.
When those bacteria are on your teeth, they produce an acid that erodes your enamel and creates cavities. But when they’re on your gums, that same acid irritates and damages your gums. This leads to gum disease, which can eventually mean losing teeth. Because your mouth is so dry, you don’t have the saliva needed to keep that bacteria in check.
Saliva contains trace minerals that, over time, help repair tiny damage done to your enamel. However, having dry mouth due to dehydration means your teeth are not getting calcium and similar minerals from saliva. This leads to your enamel growing weaker.
If you’ve ever had a night where you drank a lot of alcohol, then you’ve experienced dry mouth — and the bad breath (also known as halitosis) that comes along with it. When you get dehydrated and cannot wash away the food particles like normal, your breath can start to smell bad.
Just about anything dark that you eat and drink will leave behind tiny stains on your teeth. They’re too small to see individually, but as they build up over the years, your white teeth turn brown and dull. Saliva normally helps slow down this process, but when you’re dehydrated, all those dark sodas, juices, and ketchup will stain your teeth that much faster.
Call Nashua Family Dentistry today at 603-546-7460 or use our convenient online form to schedule a new appointment this summer. Our Nashua dentists work with kids and adults to help keep their teeth strong, attractive, and healthy.