Summer temperatures are a severe concern for Texans right now. Record highs are baking the region, leaving many strained and exhausted. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) is even worried about whether its power grid can meet the state’s air-conditioning demands. As such, people are at heightened risk for heat-related conditions — including dehydration, which can hurt oral health. To protect yourself this season, here’s a summary of three sneaky dehydration signs, the condition’s impact on oral health, and tips for staying hydrated.
Some Sneaky Signs of Dehydration
It isn’t always easy to tell when you’re dehydrated. After all, thirst isn’t the only sign of it — there are also subtler symptoms. Consider these three, for example.
Headaches and migraines are a common sign of dehydration, and can be either tolerable or intense. Researchers note that dehydration can actually shrink brain tissue, and that shrinkage may cause pain.
Cold, Dry Skin
Your body shifts your blood from the skin when it’s dehydrated, instead moving it to your internal organs. As your skin is thus robbed of water, it can start to feel cold and dry.
Dizziness or Lightheadedness
Having less water in your body can lower your blood pressure. Left untreated, that can then cause you to feel lightheaded, faint, or dizzy. In fact, a key sign of dehydration is a sudden rush of lightheadedness when you stand up too quickly.
Dehydration’s Harm to Oral Health
Dehydration involves losing fluid from all body parts. That includes the saliva in your mouth.
Saliva protects your teeth and gums by washing away leftover food and bacteria. You’re more likely to suffer from plaque, gum disease, tooth decay, and mouth sores when it dries up. Furthermore, lack of saliva deprives you of minerals that would strengthen your tooth enamel.
Some Key Hydration Tips
The best way to avoid dehydration is to hydrate yourself. That said, add theses practices to your daily habits:
- Get Plenty of Water: Having lots of liquids and foods with high water content, such as fruits and vegetables, can help prevent dehydration, according to the Mayo Clinic.
- Drink to Thirst: If you’re thirsty, drink until you don’t feel that way. Still, be cautious — thirst isn’t always a reliable indicator of dehydration, as older people can be less sensitive to it.
- Stay Prepared: Prepare for sun exposure or exercise by drinking the day before. Hydrate during and after these times as well.
The summer heat in Texas this year is no joke. Keep it from draining your water levels by remembering the above signs and tips!
About the Practice
San Marcos Gentle Dental is a top dental practice in San Marcos, TX, and led by Dr. J. Robert Donnelly. Providing family and cosmetic dentistry, their team is highly trained and uses the latest in state-of-the-art dental technology. The practice is also equipped for restorative procedures like dental implants, crowns, dentures, and bridges. For more information or to book an appointment, they can be reached at their website or by phone at (512)-396-5225.