Why Is Dehydration Dangerous … To Your Smile?
As we get deeper and deeper into the month of June, there’s more and more opportunity to get out and enjoy what passes for summer in the Pacific Northwest.
Here, summer is more of a state of mind, but nonetheless, we go through the same motions as most places around the country: Summer sports, summer vacation, and summer jobs for our little ones and our adolescents.
And all of that activity can make you quite thirsty. Whether it’s your kids on the playing field, or you doing a few extra reps in the gym, the importance of hydration cannot be overstated when it comes to your overall health.
But did you know that dehydration can kill your smile?
How Is That Possible?
Quite simple, actually.
Imagine that your mouth is an ecosystem, like a pond. That pond needs plenty of regular rainfall to maintain the delicate balance of animals (predator and prey), nutrients for those animals to consume, and a stable environment in which they can prosper (or, at the very least, survive).
Now imagine that this pond hasn’t seen a decent rain in over two years. What does that pond look like to you now? That’s what I thought: Certainly not a pond anymore.
The same logic applies to your mouth. Regular consumption of water will keep your mouth producing saliva, which you may not have realized is an important protector of your smile. Thats right: Not only does saliva contain chemicals that help you break down food that you’re eating, but it also has antiviral and antibacterial properties.
Put another way, if your “smile pond” had a lifeguard, this would be it.
And the best way to make sure your mouth is regularly producing saliva is (drumroll, please) … to drink enough water? Although it seems like every few years there is a shift in the amount of water scientists say you’re supposed to drink every day, a little common sense here can go a long, long way: If you’re thirsty, drink water until you’re no longer thirsty.
But I’ve only told you why it’s important to keep your smile well-lubricated. Now, let’s talk about what happens if you don’t.
Worse Than A Trojan Horse
That comparison I made between your saliva and a lifeguard? Well, imagine that, without the lifeguard, a gang of bullies comes in and trashes the pond.
This is essentially what happens to the ecosystem in your mouth if you are perpetually dehydrated, allowing any and all manner of harmful, uninvited guests to take up residence inside of your smile.
Medically speaking, this means that, due to a lack of protective saliva, your mouth is now vulnerable to an invasion of harmful bacteria – chief among them the bacteria which can cause gum disease.
The chances of developing gum disease – also known as periodontitis – drastically increases if you aren’t drinking enough water. So as much as you should (rightfully) be concerned about getting a tooth knocked out during a softball game this summer, your smile is still in danger if you aren’t drinking enough water.
And while getting a tooth knocked out on the playing field is traumatic enough in itself, it almost pales in comparison to the level of destruction that a slow-motion case of periodontitis can have on your smile, leading to other complications to your health, including an increased risk for diabetes, stroke, heart disease, and more.
But just as you can prevent that tooth from getting knocked out by getting a custom-crafted athletic mouthguard, you can save yourself from the ravages of gum disease by making sure that you (or a loved one) are drinking as much water as they need. So invest in some BPA-free water bottles if you haven’t already and make sure your family knows the full importance of staying properly hydrated this summer.
What If You Already Have Gum Disease?
Don’t worry: All you need to do is schedule your appointment with me and let me take a look. If you or a child has gum disease, it’s not the end of the world; rather, it’s the beginning of a healthy smile!
To make your appointment with me, either on your behalf or a member of your family’s, you can reach me at (458) 205-5189, or fill out this simple web form and make your appointment with us online.