Finally, the weather is starting to warm up and the sun is coming out more and more. That means summer is here, and it’s time to start getting some exercise outside. Running, hiking, or just playing around the pool at a friend’s house can be great fun this time of year.
But these can also dehydrate you. Even if you don’t drink too much alcohol or coffee, you sweat a lot more in summer. And dehydration can lead to more cavities and worse.
Call our Winnipeg, MB dental office today at (204) 977-8515 and schedule your next appointment. A dental cleaning will help protect your teeth and gums, while a dental exam can determine if you have any problems that dehydration might make worse.
Why Wet Teeth Are Healthy Teeth
Getting dehydrated at any time of the year is a problem. You can feel dizzy, nauseous, tired, irritable and more. It also hurts your dental healthy because it leads to dry mouth.
Believe it or not, your teeth and gums depend on saliva to help keep them healthy. Here’s what your saliva does for your smile:
- Gets rid of food particles. Whenever you eat, tiny bits of food and drink are trapped on your teeth and gums. These feed harmful bacteria behind gum disease and cavities, but saliva helps wash them away.
- Help prevent stains. Dark foods and drinks leave behind tiny stains on your enamel that eventually turn your teeth dark. Saliva cannot stop all stains, but it can help keep some of them away from your teeth.
- Keep your breath nicer. When you’re mouth is dry, it’s more likely to have an odor. Saliva helps wash away some of what makes your breath smell, keeping it nicer.
- Protect your enamel. There’s a little amount of calcium and similar minerals in your saliva. These help keep your enamel strong.
How Dehydration Leads To Dental Problems
Here are some of the dental health problems that can happen to you when you’re dehydrated and have dry mouth.
When you eat dark foods and drinks (coffee, tomato sauce, tea, chocolate, etc.), a tiny amount gets trapped on your teeth. This leaves behind a stain that’s too small to see. But as times flies by, these stains build up until your teeth are dark and brown.
Normally, saliva helps prevent some of these stains from getting trapped on your enamel. But when you have dry mouth thanks to dehydration, the stains build up faster leading to discolored teeth.
Because saliva has trace amounts of calcium and similar minerals, it can help keep your enamel strong. Saliva coats your teeth, and the minerals in it soak into the enamel, making it healthier. So when you’re dehydrated and have a dry mouth, your teeth aren’t getting the minerals they’re used to having.
Tooth decay is caused by harmful bacteria that live in your mouth. They feed on food particles in your mouth, and they produce an acid that erodes holes (or cavities) in your enamel. So the more food particles there are in your mouth, the more cavities you eventually get.
Saliva is supposed to help wash away those food particles, but when you’re dehydrated, that’s not happening. That’s why you can get more cavities when you have a dry mouth.
Cavities aren’t the only thing those bacteria can cause. When they live on your gums instead of your teeth, they still produce an acid. But instead of eroding holes in enamel, it irritates and damages your gum tissues. This leads to gum disease.
Because you don’t have the saliva you normally do, you are at a higher risk of getting gum disease through dehydration.
HALITOSIS (BAD BREATH)
If you’ve ever woken up dying of thirst, you probably had bad breath (also known as halitosis). That because a dry mouth doesn’t have any saliva to wash away stuff that makes your breath smell. Instead, it just sits in your mouth and causes halitosis.