It’s true – but don’t take my word for it.
Just ask Jessica. Now a longtime patient, Jessica first came to many, many years ago.
Her problem wasn’t of the catastrophic variety, nor was it a visit in the interest of a simple teeth cleaning. You see, Jessica had a problem that she didn’t know she had.
“Come to think of it, yeah, I am pretty thirsty,” she told me, sitting in the comfy chair in my St. John dentist’s office.
At the moment, all I could do was laugh. “I’ll bet you are,” I told her. “Because you’re dehydrated.”
Like a lot of young people, Jessica wasn’t in the habit of regularly seeing her doctor, so the news coming from her dentist was quite the shock to her.
I then explained to her the same thing I’m going to explain to you – except that, unlike Jessica, you still have the power to prevent trouble before it starts.
A Moist Smile is A Healthy Smile…
…Usually. Although there are some cases where too much saliva can result in a fungal infection known as thrush, the chances are good that, if you never feel thirsty, then dehydration is never going to rear its tired, ugly head and cause you any serious complications.
But if you, like Jessica, are spending your days feeling more parched than not (as well as fatigued or light headed), then congratulations: You probably suffer from dehydration.
As with Jessica, the problem with dehydration when it comes to your overall oral health is that saliva is an important part in the ecosystem of your smile.
You probably don’t realize it, but saliva has a lot going for it when it comes to protecting your smile from harm. Not only does saliva contain trace amounts of calcium (enabling it to actually repair your tooth enamel), but it contains certain chemicals that act as antibacterial and antifungal agents, keeping your smile safe.
In Jessica’s case, I determined after a brief interview with her that her lack of regular brushing and flossing compounded an already shaky situation. By failing to brush and floss, Jessica had invited gingivitis into her smile.
As you may or may not know, gingivitis is a pre-cursor disease to full-blown gum disease, or periodontitis. Well, due to Jessica’s constant dehydration, that invitation became a red carpet for bacteria that didn’t have to fear saliva keeping them in check.
A quick examination of her receding, puffy gums told me almost everything I needed to know. I managed to successfully solve Jessica’s problem with a non-invasive gum disease treatment, but what I told her – and what I want you to takeaway from this blog post more than anything – is that gum disease is completely avoidable, as is inviting certain ruin to your smile by failing to keep hydrated.
Your Mouth Is Part of Your Body, After All
People seem to forget this. Maybe it’s because general medical physicians treat one set of organs, and Burke dentists like me treat another. It’s like an Iron Curtain of sorts, the way people tend to perceive this separation between their oral health and their overall physical health.
But you’d be foolish to think this. A massive body of scientific evidence grows by the year pointing out the different links between poor oral health and poor overall health.
For example: If Jessica hadn’t come to see me when she did, then she could join the tens of thousands of Americans who are suffering from a seemingly unrelated health condition that is actually linked with gum disease. Strokes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and many more terrible, life-threatening illness have been shown to have their origins, in part, with gum disease.
It’s a complicated topic, and one that I recommend you do some additional reading about so that you can have a comprehensive understand of the link between your oral health and your body’s health – and that includes drinking plenty of water.
Use Some Common Sense
The conventional wisdom holds that an adult should drink about eight ounces of water a day. Although it seems like that number falls victim to the same pop-science reporting that has us re-evaluating the dangers and benefits of eggs every few years or so, a good rule of thumb to live by is also a simple one when it comes to staying hydrated: Whenever you’re thirsty, drink some water until you are no longer thirsty.
There. I just saved you time, money, and pain. I just wish I could’ve told Jessica before her problems began.
You Can Make It Different
But you don’t have to wind up like Jessica. In fact, I want you to make your appointment with me, either for yourself or for a loved one, so that I can examine your smile to make sure that the summer heat isn’t already taking its toll on your pearly whites.
So please, reach out to me at 219-322-9920 if you live in St. John, or 219-462-1970 if you hail from Valparaiso. Or you can just make your appointment online by filling out this simple web form.
Creating Smiles, PC, located in St. John and Valparaiso, Indiana, offers everything you need for a healthy smile and a healthier life. Dr. Kapers and his team can take the anxiety and uncertainty out of dental visits with sedation dentistry, and we're the premier provider of dental implants in the region.