You know how hot it can get around here in the summer. But summer is alway when your kids are playing outside a lot. It’s not like they never leave the house in winter, but with swimming pools, summer camps, and more free time with no school, your children will be running around outside a lot.

That means they can get dehydrated. What many parents don’t know is that such dehydration in the summer (or anytime) can lead to dental health problems. Cavities, gum disease, and the like are more likely when you’re dehydrated.

Call our Birmingham, AL dental office today at 205-545-8007 for your next family dentistry appointment. Dr. Perrigo is your Birmingham dentist with the training and experience to help detect any problems that might get worse due to summer dehydration.

How Saliva Helps Your Teeth

The reason why dehydration is linked to dental problems like cavities and gum disease is simple: saliva. Your body uses saliva to help chew, but it also helps keep your teeth and gums healthy. Here’s how that works.

  • It removed food particles stuck in your mouth: Whenever you eat or drink, tiny particles of the food or drink get trapped on your teeth and gums. These feed the harmful bacteria behind cavities and gum disease. Thankfully, saliva helps wash away those particles.
  • It strengthens your enamel: Saliva has trace amounts of calcium and similar minerals. When your teeth are kept wet by saliva, those minerals actually strengthen your enamel and repair the microscopic damage.
  • It helps your breath smell better: Your mouth keeps making saliva, which helps wash out your mouth. This can help keep your breath fresh.
  • It slows down stains on your teeth: Saliva won’t prevent dark food and drink from staining your teeth, but by washing away more of the staining elements, it slows down the process to keep your teeth whiter.

The Dental Dangers of Dehydration

Dehydration leads to dry mouth. Because your body is deprived of water, it cannot make saliva like it normally does. That leads to several dental health problems in your kids’ teeth — and even your own.

CAVITIES

When you’re properly hydrated, there’s enough water to let saliva wash away food particles from your teeth and gums. But when you are dehydrated, you get dry mouth. That means there will be more food for the bacteria.

These bacteria produce an acid when they eat and thrive. When they live on your teeth, that acid burns holes in the enamel called cavities. The more food particles they can get, the more they’ll create cavities. That’s exactly what happens with dry mouth.

WEAK ENAMEL

Because of calcium and similar minerals, your saliva helps strengthen the enamel on your teeth. If you are dehydrated often, then you’re teeth aren’t getting those minerals. This means the enamel can grow weaker, making it more likely to get damaged by an injury or get a cavity.

GUM DISEASE

The harmful bacteria that cause cavities also cause gum disease. Instead of living on your teeth, they live on the surface of your gums. But they still produce an acid that irritates and hurts your gum tissues. Eventually, your gums start to bleed. This allows the bacteria to slip inside and infect the gum tissues.

Your gums depend on saliva to wash away some food particles, keeping the bacteria from growing out of control. So when you are dehydrated and have dry mouth,

HALITOSIS

When you wake up in the morning, your breath can be a little disagreeable. That’s because your mouth has been shut most of the night. Something similar happens when you’re dehydrated because you don’t have saliva keeping your teeth, gums, and tongue rinsed off. That can give you halitosis, otherwise known as bad breath.

Call us TODAY at 205-545-8007 or use our online form to schedule a family dentistry appointment. Dr. Perrigo is your Birmingham dentist who can help with the effects of dehydration on your children’s teeth and those of your whole family.