Water is important for our well-being. When our bodies lack sufficient water, our bodies malfunction in short order. This is true as well for the mouth, where keeping moist and pH-balanced is vital to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria responsible for damaged teeth, receding gums, and bad breath. When a patient is dehydrated, some of the symptoms will manifest themselves in the patient's mouth.
As the amount of water in the body decreases, the saliva in the mouth decreases as well. This can cause patients to have dry, sticky mouths as well as bad breath. This dryness in the mouth also allows harmful bacteria to thrive. When dry mouth due to dehydration is common or consistent, the repeated dryness in the mouth can lead to tooth decay or gingivitis. In addition, dehydrated patients often feel both thirsty and hungry. This is partially due to the amount of foods that are high in water – such as celery and watermelon – though our team recommends drinking water first, then eating to handle any lingering hunger.
Unless the patient is exhibiting severe symptoms such as dizziness or bleeding, the best way to treat dehydration is to simply drink water until the patient's thirst subsides. Carrying a reusable water bottle will make this task easier, especially in cities and areas with frequent hydration stations or bottle-friendly water fountains. Replacing other drinks – such as soft drinks and alcoholic beverages – with water will also help combat dehydration as many non-water drinks act as diuretics that subtract water from the body. Finally, setting routine reminders on smart devices such as smartphones or fitness trackers will remind patients to regularly drink water.
If you want advice on how to fortify your oral health, call our office to schedule a consultation. Our team can help set up an oral care plan to meet your needs.