May 24, 2022
For many, summertime means spending time outside. Whether you’re hanging by the pool all weekend long, going on a hike, or cooking out, it’s important to make sure you drink plenty of water. Though you may think that signs of dehydration will be apparent, that isn’t always the case. Read on to learn about six sneaky signs of dehydration, how it impacts your oral health, and what you can do to prevent it.
How Dehydration Hurts Your Dental Health
Dehydration affects several parts of the body, including the mouth. Since a lack of saliva allows food debris to linger in your mouth, this raises your risk of dental decay. Saliva also neutralizes the acids produced by cavity-causing bacteria, so not having enough of it makes your teeth more susceptible to cavities. Insufficient saliva production also puts you at a greater risk of gum disease and other mouth infections.
6 Sneaky Signs of Dehydration
Though feeling thirsty is a common sign that you’re becoming dehydrated, it’s far from the one. A few sneakier signs of dehydration that you should look out for include:
- Bad breath – Since you don’t produce as much saliva when you’re dehydrated, this allows the foul-smelling bacteria in your mouth to thrive.
- Headaches – Mild to moderate dehydration can lead to headaches or even trigger migraines in those who are prone to them.
- Flu-like symptoms – If you are experiencing headaches, dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea, or other flu-like symptoms, these may indicate that you’re experiencing moderate to serious dehydration.
- Hunger – Hunger and thirst cues both come from the hypothalamus, which is the portion of the brain that controls functions like body temperature. If you just ate but still feel hungry, you may actually be thirsty.
- Fatigue – Not drinking enough can make you feel lethargic and may cause exhaustion by making it difficult for you to get quality sleep.
- Muscle cramps – Dehydration and insufficient electrolytes are common reasons for muscle cramps while exercising. This is because your body doesn’t have enough sodium, potassium, and other vital minerals that balance your pH levels and control nervous system function. Pain or muscle tightness on a hot day may be signs of dehydration.
How to Prevent Dehydration
One of the best ways to prevent dehydration is to make sure you sip water throughout the day. Most experts recommend drinking whenever you feel thirsty and stopping once said thirst has been quenched. Consider keeping a reusable water bottle on you to make it easier to drink water regardless of how busy your day is. Additionally, prepare ahead of time by drinking plenty of fluids if you know that you’ll be spending a lot of time in the sun soon.
Though the signs of dehydration aren’t always obvious, these tips should make them easier to identify. This will allow you to be proactive so you can stay hydrated and keep your oral and overall health in good shape!
About the Practice
Waterbury Smiles offers Waterbury residents compassionate, effective care from the comfort of their inviting dental office. They administer several general dental services to help you avoid oral health issues. They can also give you information on the signs of dehydration and how they can affect your smile so you can be sure to drink plenty of water to keep your smile looking lovely. If you want to learn more or are ready to make an appointment, visit their website or call (203) 575-9097.
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