It’s important to increase your fluid intake during the summer—especially if you spend a lot of time outdoors. High temperatures cause you to sweat, which can result in significant fluid loss and dehydration. In fact, sweating for just around a half hour is enough to cause you to lose one to two percent of your body weight in fluids. That’s enough for most people to become mildly or moderately dehydrated.
And while staying hydrated should be your number one goal when you’re outdoors this summer, it’s vital that you increase your liquid intake from the right sources. Water is the best option for rehydration and for your overall health—including your oral health. Many sports drinks that are advertised as “thirst-quenchers” or being ideal for hydration contain huge amounts of sugar, which aren’t just empty calories, but also hazardous to your teeth.
How Do Sugary Drinks Damage Teeth?
Sugar is your mouth’s worst enemy. If you’ve ever spilled a sugary drink, dessert, or candy, you know that it leaves behind a sticky mess. The same thing happens to your teeth after you drink a soda, sports drink, or energy drink.
Even occasional indulgences can lead to sugar sticking to every surface of your teeth. Over time, naturally-occurring bacteria inside your mouth will begin to eat the left-behind sugar, creating acids in the process. Those acids can cause significant damage to the enamel on your teeth. When enamel is weakened, teeth become much more susceptible to decay and the development of cavities.
Tips for Avoiding Sugar-Related Tooth Decay
At 101st Adult Dentistry, we know that it’s difficult to completely give up sugar. And while no sugar is always the best option for protecting the health of your teeth, there are a few things you can do to minimize the damage when you indulge with sugary drinks:
Brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day.
Maintaining a regular schedule of brushing your teeth and flossing is the first line of defense against cavities and sugar-related tooth decay. Make sure to replace your toothbrush regularly as its bristles wear out, and brush and floss on and between every tooth.
Rinse your mouth with water after drinking sugary drinks.
Sodas, sports drinks, and energy drinks contain dozens of grams of sugar—some of which gets left behind in your mouth and on your teeth. Rinsing your mouth with water immediately after drinking sugary beverages helps wash away some of the sugar, reducing the likelihood of tooth decay.
Chew sugar-free gum.
Saliva is a great defense against sugar and its damaging effects on your teeth. One of the best ways to increase your mouth’s natural production of saliva is to chew gum—preferably, sugar-free gum. Keep a pack handy for yourself and your teens this summer to reduce your cavity risks if you indulge in a sweetened beverage.
No matter how well you take care of your teeth, getting regular checkups at a dentist’s office is a vital part of healthy and effective oral hygiene. Our dental team is here to make sure your teeth are beautiful, healthy, and strong. Call us today at (931) 906-8800.