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While summer break may be almost over, it seems like the hot weather is here to stay. You don’t need your Overland Park family dentist to tell you that we’ve been experiencing some incredibly hot days of late, with heat indexes up well over 100 degrees! In weather like this, it can be difficult to stay hydrated, but it’s more important than ever, especially for those of us who don’t want to sacrifice our fitness regimens, or who have children who’re playing outside, or on sports teams. Fortunately, the best way to stay hydrated is also the easiest and cheapest, and that’s to drink plenty of water. Water isn’t just perfect for staying hydrated, it’s also great for your teeth and for all-over body health.
You probably know that soft drinks and sodas are bad for your teeth, as well as for your overall health—but they aren’t the only beverages that can damage your enamel. While a lot of people rely on sports drinks to replace electrolytes that are lost from the body when we sweat, the fact is that many sports drinks are loaded with sugar. Sugar can reduce the rate at which your body absorbs water, which can interfere with hydration, and can lead to cavities, too. But, it’s not just the sugar you have to watch out for—sodas and sports drinks often contain acids, which recent studies from New York University’s College of Dentistry and the journal General Dentistry have shown can damage tooth enamel and contribute to gum erosion.
Water, on the other hand, does a lot more than just keep you hydrated in hot weather. Water helps promote full-body health by regulating temperature, flushing waste, and helping to move nutrients throughout our cells. Water also helps prevent muscle cramps and strains when you’re working out or playing sports, moisturizes your skin, reduces appetite, and facilitates kidney function, to name just a few of its many benefits. It’s no surprise that some people have called water “nature’s wonder drug.” But, water’s hydrating properties should not be overlooked. Getting dehydrated is easy in weather like we’ve been having here in Overland Park, and symptoms of dehydration go way beyond just feeling thirsty. Dehydration can lead to headaches, fatigue, muscle cramps, confusion, and even contribute to serious conditions like heat stroke.
On top of water’s beneficial effects for your whole body, it can also help promote better oral health, and not just because it lacks the sugars and acids that you’ll find in most other drinks. Water helps your mouth create saliva, which cleans your teeth and gums of particles that can lead to cavities, plague, and gum disease. What’s more, chances are the water that comes out of your tap is lightly fluoridated. Fluoride not only strengthens your entire tooth structure and makes it more resistant to decay, but it also promotes remineralization, which can help repair early decay even before you can see the damage. Drinking fluoridated water is the easiest and safest way to get fluoride, which can help to protect and strengthen your teeth, along with brushing and flossing and regular trips to your Overland Park dentist, of course.
So the next time you have to brave the broiling summer heat, skip the soda or sports drink and reach for a tall, cool glass of water. Your smile—and the rest of you—will be glad you did!
Looking for preventive dental care for the whole family? Come see Watts Family Dental in Overland Park, Kansas. Our friendly office specializes in keeping the whole family smiling! To make an appointment, you can call (913) 338-3384 or fill out our quick and easy online contact form.