June 16, 2017
Summer in Kansas City is always a hot one. The upper 80s is normal, but it can often be hotter. That’s why dehydration can often be a problem here. You want to go out and enjoy being active outdoors before winter returns, but you need to stay hydrated.
But it’s pretty typical that people don’t drink enough water in the summer months. And if you drink alcohol, that makes the problem even worse. One thing people often don’t realize is that being dehydrated can hurt your smile.
Call our Kansas City, MO dental office today at 816-399-5539 to schedule your next dental exam. Dr. Stiver is your Kansas City dentist with the skills and experience in finding any dental problems like cavities and gum disease that dehydration is making worse. Once discovered, they can then be treated properly to keep your smile healthy and strong.
How Saliva Protects Your Teeth And Gums
The biggest dental problem with dehydration is dry mouth. When your body doesn’t have the water it needs, your mouth stops generating saliva. That can be a big problem for your teeth and gums because they depend on saliva to stay healthy.
Specifically, saliva helps by doing the following:
- Saliva helps strengthen your enamel: Saliva contains trace amounts of minerals like calcium. These soak into your enamel, making it stronger and more able to resist damage.
- Saliva helps your breath stay cleaner: By constantly washing your tongue and teeth, saliva helps you avoid bad breath.
- Saliva washes away particles of food from your teeth and gums: You get cavities and gum disease when bacteria feed on food particles stuck in your mouth. Saliva washes those particles away, helping keep cavities and gum disease under control.
- Saliva slows down stuff that stains your teeth: While saliva won’t stop stains from collecting on your enamel, it does wash some of the staining agents away to slow the process down a lot.
What Dehydration Does To Your Smile
That’s why summer can be rough for your teeth and gums. You’re spending more time outside, which means you’re sweating more. If you don’t increase how much water you drink each day, you could easily get dehydrated and face dental problems like these.
Whenever you eat or drink anything dark (like coffee, barbecue sauce, and so on), a tiny amount gets trapped on your enamel. This stain is small, but over the years, more appear to make your teeth look dark. This is a slow process, but it speeds up some when you are dehydrated. That’s because you have a dry mouth and cannot wash away those stains.
Since you don’t have the saliva washing your mouth all day, bits of food get stuck and just sit there. That means your breath can start to turn foul and you can have halitosis.
Eating and drinking mean food particles will get trapped on your teeth and gums. That’s inevitable. Normally, your saliva will wash some of these away. But when you have dry mouth, that’s not happening.
Cavities are caused by harmful bacteria that live in your mouth. They survive on those food particles and produce an acid that burns holes in your enamel. So when you’re not washing as many away, you’re letting those harmful bacteria thrive and multiply. That leads to getting more cavities.
Those same harmful bacteria aren’t just creating cavities. When they live on your gums, they still produce that acid. Instead of causing cavities, this irritates and damages your gum tissue. This is called gum disease, and it can lead to bleeding gums and even losing some of your teeth.
Typically, saliva coating your teeth allows calcium and other trace minerals soak into the enamel. This helps the enamel grow stronger and can even repair the microscopic damage. But when you have a dry mouth, that saliva is gone. This can lead to having weaker enamel.
Call us TODAY at 816-399-5539 or use our convenient online form to make your next appointment for a dental exam. Cavities and gum disease can happen without you feeling anything, and all that gets more common in the summer when you’re dehydrated. A dental exam from our Kansas City dentist can make sure your teeth are still healthy and strong.