Stay Hydrated This Summer Without Damaging Your Teeth
As our summer heart intensifies, it is more important than ever to stay hydrated. When we spend time outside, we are more likely to sweat at these high temperatures with this high humidity.
Summertime also tempts us with long, lazy days by the pool. If these days include lots of alcoholic beverages, your risk for dehydration skyrockets.
What Types of Drinks Dehydrate You?
There are many beverages that actually cause dehydration. When choosing a drink to keep your body safe during the hot summer months, make sure to stay away from these categories.
- Alcohol – We do not want to ruin your fun! Keep reading for how you can enjoy some adult beverages and stay hydrated and protect your teeth. You need to know that alcohol causes your kidneys to increase the production of urine, which increases water loss. Alcohol removes water from your system and dehydrates you.
- Caffeine – Caffeine is another culprit that draws water out of your system. Caffeinated sodas, coffees, Red Bull, and other caffeinated drinks will all dehydrate you if they are your main source of fluids.
- High sugar content – As the kidneys filter the bloodstream, they remove sugar. The sugar grabs water to come along with it, removing it from your system. Drinks with lots of sugar will dehydrate you.
These Drinks are Bad for My Teeth?
Our cosmetic dentists want you to stay away from any drinks with high sugar content because they are obviously likely to cause cavities. Many alcoholic beverages also increase cavity risk.
Choosing a sugar-free option will lower that cavity risk and also lower the risk for dehydration.
What Drinks Do Not Dehydrate You?
Basically, anything that is alcohol-free, caffeine-free, and sugar-free. This leaves you with options like water, sparkling water, sugar-free sports drinks like G2 (Gatorade) and Powerade Zero. There are tons of other drink options like Vitamin Water, which are healthy for you during the hot summer months.
Fruit juices are not a great option because of their high sugar content, which increases the risks for both cavities and dehydration.
But These Good Drinks Might Be Bad for My Teeth, Too?
Why would we want you to stay away from some of these better, “healthier” drinks? Because they can also cause a higher risk for cavities.
It’s All About the pH.
Almost every drink we have listed is acidic. It is important to know the pH of your favorite drinks so that you can prevent the cavities an acidic drink makes you more prone to.
Acid is the worst thing that can happen to tooth enamel. In fact, the bacteria that cause cavities use acid as their weapon to penetrate and infiltrate a tooth.
A healthy mouth has a pH above 7, which is above neutral and slightly basic. By constantly drinking acidic beverages, we lower the pH inside the mouth, making it easier for bacteria to cause cavities, and making a tooth more susceptible to acid erosion.
For instance, the lemon and lime flavored sparkling waters have a pH as low as most sodas! Sports drinks are also very low on the pH scale.
Do not add lemons or limes to whatever you are drinking, whether it is Corona or just iced water. We know it is refreshing to have a splash of citrus in your drinks. However, lemon juice and lime juice are extremely acidic and can cause severe damage to your enamel.
How Can I Stay Hydrated without Hurting My Teeth?
Water is the easiest and safest way to stay hydrated. There are some fancy bottled waters available that actually have a pH that is above neutral. These basic waters will help counteract the effect of acid on the teeth.
However, in general, good old tap water is the best thing for you. We have recently found that some bottled waters are slightly acidic because of the type of filtration they use. Know your water!
How Can I Stay Hydrated and Protect my Teeth and Enjoy a Fun Drink?
Make sure that you are drinking more water than any other beverage. If you’re having wine spritzers by the pool all day, make sure you have eight ounces of water between each spritzer to help your mouth go back to neutral.
While you’re drinking, have a snack. Eating food stimulates saliva, which is also a base and counteracts the acid in your beverages.
After drinking something acidic, rinse your mouth with water to help it get back to a neutral pH as quickly as possible.
Know your teeth. Some people are inherently more likely to get cavities. If you have a high risk for cavities, you need to take these recommendations even more seriously. And yes, there are some people who have very strong enamel with a very low cavity risk. They do not have to be as careful. We know . . . It’s not fair.
Do You Have Other Questions about What is Best for You and Your Teeth?
Call today to schedule a checkup and cleaning with Dr. Ann and Dr. Lauren. They will give you specific recommendations after a thorough assessment of your current situation.