Staying Hydrated This Summer For Healthy Teeth and Gums

Woman jumping on a beach
  • Jan 12 2017


School’s out, it’s summertime, vacations, BBQ’s and adventures are already scheduled. :)  But with summer comes heat, which can lead to dehydration. It sounds simple right….if you’re thirsty, take a drink of water? But did you know, that by the time you’re thirsty you are already a bit dehydrated? You’ve probably noticed your mouth gets dry when you’re exercising or when your kids are playing for an extended time, running around. If you don’t drink enough water to stay hydrated, your dry mouth can lead to tooth decay, gingivitis, or even periodontitis. The better hydrated you are, the more saliva you have to wash away food particles that lead to tooth decay.

So to prevent dehydration and tooth decay from having a dry mouth, here are some tips for staying hydrated this summer for healthy teeth and gums:

1. Hydrate. Drink water before, during, and after any exercising or physical activity. Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
2. Exercise smarter, not harder. If exercising outdoors, exercise during the cooler parts of the day, early morning or late evening.
3. Wear appropriate clothing. Remember, sweating helps cool the body down, so wear lightweight, loose clothing that breathes.
4. Exercise with a friend. It’s safer, and more fun!
5. If you exercise or are exerting a lot in extreme heat or for longer than an hour, be sure to drink a sports drink to replenish your electrolytes.
6. Monitor fluid loss by checking the color of your urine. It should be pale yellow and not dark yellow.
7. Be sure to seek medical treatment for severe dehydration or heat stroke. See Symptoms here

But it’s summer, you’re on vacation, you want to kick back and relax with your favorite adult beverage with friends and family—Go for it! But you might want to think twice about drinking wine and instead drink some ice cold beer!

Did you know that drinking beer is good for your teeth? It is!

Beer is a good food source for bone health, and why beer is good for your teeth – just 16oz of beer per day will help with osteoporosis & increase bone density because beer has a good silicon absorption rate (8mcg is found in 16oz of beer ) which increases protection against the disease.

However, too much beer, wine, and hard alcohol leads to tooth erosion, dry mouth, & increases the odds of oral cancer (75-80% of oral cancer patients are drinkers). Dry mouth produces bad breath, which is due to the decrease in saliva (alcohol is a diuretic, leading to dehydration) and can lead to tooth decay. Additionally, sugary, bubbly alcohols are the worst, meaning champagne is harder on your teeth than wine. Fact: White wine is more acidic than red, so it can also stain your teeth by sticking to the plaque that’s already there. Further, if you’re on blood thinners, stay away from the bubbly drinks because the carbonation disrupts the clotting.

Best way to prevent stains & tooth erosion:

1) Eat smart — celery & cheese, are good snacks to clean/coat teeth while drinking
2) Take breaks between tastings — allows saliva to form & give mouth natural rinse
3) Rinse with water after drinking
4) Chew sugar free gum for 20 minutes
5) Hold off on brushing teeth for 30 minutes if using an abrasive paste (it’s better to brush with just water)
6) Best to brush before drinking — beer adheres to plaque that’s already on your teeth
7) Best to drink thru a straw, but I realize it doesn’t taste the best!
So kick back and enjoy your summer with a beer, just follow it up with a glass of water!

For more information or to make an appointment, please call my office: 619-285-1200 or visit my website.



(Credit 1, Credit 2)

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Posted in: dentists, General Dentistry, Hygiene, Oral Care