Your body needs water to function properly and constant dehydration can cause problems. Is it possible your dental issues are being caused by not drinking enough water? Your Smile also depends on water and not getting enough of it can affect your oral health.
When you become dehydrated, your body does not produce as much saliva. This decrease in saliva production gives the odour-producing bacteria in your mouth a chance to multiply. Drinking enough water throughout the day will not only help keep bacterial levels under control, but will also wash away odorous food debris.
You may be tempted to use gum or breath mints to help hide your bad breath, and that’s fine now and again as long as you understand that it is not a long term solution for bad breath because it doesn’t address the underlying cause of the problem. We all have bad breath from time to time, but if you think that you are experiencing prolonged and persistent bad breath, ask someone you can trust to give you an honest answer to confirm your suspicions.
Saliva is comprised mostly of water, making it your mouth’s first defense against cavities. It is very important for your oral health. A decrease in the quality and quantity of your saliva production can lead to gum and tooth problems. Saliva removes food debris from the mouth, clears away particles and harmful bacterial plaque that are resting in and around teeth and is essential in repairing (remineralizing with calcium, phosphorus and fluoride) your enamel after acid attacks. When your mouth is not producing enough saliva, your mouth becomes the ideal breeding ground for germs which can then lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
The first stage of the digestion begins in the mouth as we chew food. Chewing and swallowing can actually be difficult when your mouth is dry. Saliva moistens your food and helps it form into a small ball (bolus) so that it can be swallowed easily. Saliva also contains an enzyme that begins breaking down starches before your food even reaches your stomach.
Fluoride is called “nature’s cavity fighter” as it is one of the easiest and most beneficial things you can do to help prevent cavities. When it reaches your teeth, fluoride is absorbed into the enamel and helps repair the bacterial damage done to your tooth enamel by replenishing the lost calcium and phosphorous to keep your teeth hard. This process, called remineralization, helps stop the decay process and prevent tooth decay.
Dehydration interferes with your body’s ability to access it’s energy stores which can then trigger cravings for foods high in sugar and carbohydrates. If you find yourself having a unusual or sudden cravings for sweets, it may be an indicator that your body is needing liquids not solid food. The next time you are having a sugar craving or are hungry after just eating, try having a glass of water instead.
“Hydrate for Fresher Breath, Healthier Gums and Less Cavities”
Tips to stay hydrated:
Avoiding dehydration is simple: drink more water! Adults should drink at least a gallon (eight 8-ounce glasses) of water per day. You need more if you are exercising or are outside in the heat or dry climate.
- Drink a lot of water (30-50 ounces per day)
- Eat water dense foods such as fruit
- Drink coconut water to replace lost electrolytes when you sweat
- Stay away from salt
Call the dentist if you have:
- Tooth pain
- Swollen or puffy gums
- Dusky red or dark red gums
- Gums that bleed easily when you brush or floss
- Bad breath
- Receding gums
- Tender gums
What Should I Drink?
The type of beverage of drink IS important. Most beverages contain sugar in one form or another. Because it is important to stay hydrated throughout the day, drinking sugary drinks causes acid attacks to happen in your mouth all day long. We have a saying in dentistry, “Sip All Day, Get Decay.” This is because it takes 4-5 hours for your saliva to repair the damage from bacterial acid attacks. Snacking and drinking beverages containing sugar interferes with this healing process. The saliva simply cannot keep up in the constant battle of demineralization and remineralization going on in the mouth. These types of drinks should be taken with your meals, whereas, water can be drank in between. So space out your meals and stick with water in between meals!
Tell your dentist if you are frequently thirty or find it hard to stay hydrated. Your dental provider will examine your mouth and discuss your “unique to you” situation. If you have been told that you have a lot of cavities, but have never really had a history of this much tooth decay, have a discussion with them to determine all the possible causes, including hydration.