The Effects of Dehydration on your Oral Health

by Joshua Allen, DMD, Owner & Dentist, Keep Smiling Family Dentistry

Summer is in full swing! Many of us who call Prescott our home, love to be outdoors this time of year. But increased activity, especially in our dry hot climate, combined with the additional effects of elevation makes staying hydrated extra important.

When you are not drinking enough water, dehydration can quickly creep up on you without your realizing it until it is too late. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke, which can be deadly, are all too common in our state because people often underestimate the harsh effects of dehydration.

To avoid these dire consequences, be on the lookout for symptoms of dehydration such as thirst, headache, fatigue, dizziness and confusion. If you’ve lived in the desert long enough, you’ll likely recognize these symptoms fairly quickly.

Most of us know that prolonged dehydration isn’t good for our overall health. However, did you know more specifically it can have a negative impact on your oral health as well?

A major symptom of dehydration as it relates to your oral health is dry mouth. What’s so bad about dry mouth? For starters, dry mouth is a condition in which salivary production is greatly reduced.

Your saliva is essential for preventing tooth decay and gum disease because it bathes your mouth in important minerals such as calcium, phosphate and fluoride. It helps wash away acids, food particles and sugar (which bacteria love to feed on).

Lastly, saliva keeps your mouth moist, which helps you chew, swallow, speak and taste food.

Dehydration can be detrimental for your overall health and well-being, as well as for your oral health. Be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day, and drink before thirst sets in. You also should limit drinks that can further dehydrate you such as alcohol and soda.

So have fun this summer, but be smart and stay hydrated! That way you, too, can enjoy a healthier life and a healthier smile.