July 6, 2021
While you are out enjoying the sunshine this summer, don’t forget to drink plenty of fluids. Dehydration is no joke! Lack of water can negatively impact your body and can lead to oral health trouble as well. The warning signals of dehydration are often subtle, especially if you don’t know what they are. Here are some sneaky signs of dehydration to watch out for and well as some tips to avoid fluid loss this summer.
How Dehydration Impacts Oral Health
Saliva helps keep your mouth healthy by washing away bits of food and bacteria from your teeth and gums and neutralizing bacterial acids. Saliva also coats your teeth with calcium, phosphate, and fluoride, important minerals that help strengthen teeth.
Do you know the primary ingredient of saliva? It’s water. When you are dehydrated because you have not consumed enough water, your body can’t produce as much saliva. This can increase your risk of dry mouth and dental disease.
Signs of Dehydration
Here are 5 signs that you may be dehydrated.
1. Bad breath
As noted above, your body produces less saliva when you are dehydrated. Without a sufficient amount of saliva, oral bacteria is more likely to thrive in your mouth and cause bad breath.
2. Muscle spasms or cramps
Sodium and potassium help balance pH levels in your body and control your nervous system function. When you are dehydrated, your body does not have enough of these key minerals, which can lead to muscle spasms or cramps.
Headaches are a very common sign of mild to moderate dehydration. Without enough fluids and electrolytes in the body, your brain can actually temporarily shrink. This shrinkage contributes to headaches, which can range from mild discomfort to severe migraines.
Thirst and hunger cues both come, in part, from the region of the brain known as the hypothalamus. If you just had a snack but you’re still feeling hungry, try drinking a glass of water.
5. Summer ‘flu’ feelings
If you’re feeling dizzy, lightheaded, or nauseous, you may think you are getting sick. However, these symptoms, along with fever or chills, can also be signs of dehydration.
Tips for Combating Dehydration
Drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day is the best way to avoid dehydration. If you have trouble remembering to drink water, invest in a refillable water bottle that you can take with you to work. If you find plain water too boring, consider drinking herbal tea or water infused with fruit or herbs.
Sports drinks can help you replace the electrolytes your body lost during a workout. However, you should avoid sports drinks in most other scenarios, as they often contain high levels of sugar.
Finally, eating fruits and vegetables with high water content can also help prevent dehydration. Cucumbers, watermelon, cantaloupe, strawberries, and tomatoes are all examples of nutritious, hydrating foods.
Now that you know the warning signs and how to take action to avoid fluid loss, you can enjoy the rest of your summer while staying healthy and hydrated.
About the Author
Dr. Steve Branberg has a decade of experience providing comprehensive dental care in Colleyville, TX. He enjoys sharing preventive tips with patients about how to take care of their smiles outside the four walls of a dentist’s office. To learn more about how dehydration impacts oral health, visit The DFW Dental Implant Center website or call 817-498-3331.
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