Whether you’re an athlete who spends a lot of time outside, a hiker, or someone planning a pool party and barbeque, it’s important to stay well hydrated. Though the summer sun may feel good on your skin and give it a lovely glow, it can also do some damage if you aren’t careful. Along with wearing sunscreen, you also need to drink plenty of water to avoid these six subtle signs of dehydration.
How Dehydration Hurts Your Dental Health
People become dehydrated when their bodies don’t have enough water to function properly. Though spending too much time in the sun without drinking enough fluids is a common cause, dehydration can also be caused by vomiting, fever, diarrhea, excessive sweating, and increased urination. It can lead to a range of health issues, including both cognitive and physical impairments.
Additionally, dehydration can damage your oral health. Not producing enough saliva leads to dry mouth, which allows bacteria and food particles to linger in your mouth. Harmful oral bacteria feed on the sugar in the foods you eat and release acids that damage your enamel, which raises your risk of cavities. Dry mouth also increases your chances of developing gum disease.
6 Sneaky Signs of Dehydration
Some signs of dehydration, such as feeling extremely thirsty, can be obvious. Others aren’t as obvious, such as:
- Headaches – Mild to moderate dehydration may lead to headaches, and migraines are possible in those who are already prone to getting them.
- Hunger – Cues that you’re hungry and that you’re thirsty come from the same part of the brain. For this reason, being hungry soon after eating may mean that you need to drink a glass of water.
- Bad breath – When you don’t produce enough saliva, this lets bad-smelling bacteria in the mouth thrive.
- Flu-like symptoms – Along with headaches, other flu-like symptoms such as feeling dizzy, nauseous, or lightheaded may be signs of dehydration.
- Fatigue – Feeling sluggish or having trouble getting some good sleep may lead to exhaustion and are signs that you might be dehydrated.
- Muscle cramps – When someone is dehydrated, their body doesn’t have the amount of electrolytes it needs to balance their pH levels and control the functions of your nervous system. This can cause muscle cramps while exercising. Muscle tightness or pain while exercising on hot days may be signs of dehydration.
5 tips to Prevent Dehydration
To prevent dehydration and protect your oral and overall health from harm, you can do the following:
- Eat cucumbers, tomatoes, watermelon, and other fruits and veggies with a high water content
- Drink a lot of water before you spend a long time in the sun
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day
- Drink water whenever you feel thirsty
- Keep a reusable water bottle on you
The above signs of dehydration may not be as obvious as you’d think, but this information should make them easier to identify. By keeping up with your water intake, you should be able to keep your smile and the rest of your body in good condition!
About the Practice
Dr. Jamie L. Guthrie leads a team of Ardmore oral health professionals who take pride in helping patients care for their pearly whites. They offer a range of treatments to treat and prevent oral health issues as well as to improve the look of your smile. They can also give you information on things that can help you prevent the signs of dehydration to protect your smile from harm. Visit Dr. Guthrie’s website or call his office at (580) 224-9600 for more information or to schedule an appointment.