Summer is finally here! That means barbecues, baseball games, picnics, and trips to the local swimming pool with the kids. With so much fun to be had in the fresh outdoors, it’s hard to remember that there could be risks to our oral health.
Dr. Landry and our team at Lapalco Family Dental have that covered in today’s blog, so you don’t have to worry about it. Today, we’re talking about the dangers that dehydration can pose to your healthy summer smile.
With a little help from our Marrero dental staff, you can better protect your oral health from dehydration while you’re out enjoying time with the family in the heat of the summer months.
Being dehydrated is bad for your overall health, certainly. You know about the importance of staying hydrated to avoid things like dizziness or heat stroke. But many of us don’t know what dehydration can do to your teeth.
The most obvious problem is that it causes dry mouth. Saliva is definitely among the unsung heroes of your oral health. It’s easy to forget how important it is to a healthy smile. But let’s take a moment to ‘brush up’ (you’re welcome!) on all that saliva does for you:
Saliva Keeps Your Breath Fresh
Believe it or not, the human body comes equipped with its own mouthwash factory. Saliva production helps wash away debris that food and drinks leave behind to keep your teeth, gums, and tongue clean and your breath nice and fresh.
Saliva Keeps The Stains Away
Did you know that saliva is like a protective shield for your teeth? It’s true! It keeps a coating of protection on your enamel so that dark pigments from things like pasta sauce, coffee, and red wine aren’t able to stick to your teeth and stain them.
Saliva Keeps Your Enamel Strong
Another way your saliva protects your teeth is by shielding your enamel with its calcium and other trace minerals. This helps to keep your enamel healthy and strong.
Saliva Keeps Cavities And Gum Disease At Bay
As we mentioned before, saliva helps wash away debris left after you eat or drink, so along with keeping your mouth clean and your breath fresh, saliva gets rid of all that harmful bacteria that would otherwise feast on food particles and sugar, which would lead to things like decay, cavities, and gum disease.
Now that you know the ways saliva protects your healthy mouth, let’s take a look at how your smile could potentially suffer without it! Dehydration, and resulting dry mouth, could cause all sorts of problems for your teeth.
It Weakens Your Tooth Enamel
Along with strengthening your tooth enamel, saliva helps remineralize it and repair damage you don’t even see. But when you’re dehydrated, there isn’t enough saliva to do all of that. As a result, your enamel can erode, growing weaker as that happens.
It Gives You Bad Breath
Without saliva acting as your body’s natural mouthwash, all the debris from food and sugary drinks will just hang out in your mouth. If your teeth, gums, and tongue aren’t kept clean with enough saliva, your breath will start to smell bad.
It Leads To Gum Disease
Dry mouth can increase your risk of gum disease. This is because bacteria in your mouth feeds on the food particles and sugar left behind after you eat. Without saliva to wash those particles away, the bacteria will create acids as it feeds. Once the acids have eaten through your teeth, they move on and can attack your gums.
Gum disease can eventually lead to tooth loss if it goes untreated. That’s why the ripple effect of dehydration can lead to much more serious dental problems over time.
It Causes Cavities
In the same way dry mouth can lead to gum disease, it can lead to cavities. Again, the bacteria feeds off food particles and other debris, and the acids created from that process create holes, or cavities, in your teeth.
Protecting your teeth and gums throughout the summer months is a team effort. Our Marrero dental staff is here to help you! Call us today at 504-264-6461 or fill out our online form to schedule an a routine dental cleaning and exam with Dr. Landry.