Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Summertime Advice: Water is the Best Source of Hydration for Dental Health

You know the song that was written for the graduating class of 1999 called “Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)” by Baz Luhrmann. It became so popular because it is true. Especially in Arizona, wearing sunscreen should be a part of our daily regime. Even more important, as the sun becomes more intense and the temperature rises, is hydration. I am trying to come up with the lyrics for a song right now, “H20 Hydrate: Drink More Water.”

This is particularly relevant when you understand the correlations between hydration and health, including oral health.

Sports and mind-blowing energy drinks, in addition to frothy, frozen coffee drinks with whipped cream and toppings have become a line-forming trend with youth and adults. Seriously, we should all have stock in the companies that keep us fueled and energized. I too enjoy an occasional sports beverage, soda or caffeinated beverage, but I limit my intake, because they can be very high in sugar, and they tend to be bad influences on teeth and gums. This has become increasingly evident to dentist and hygienists, and I hear about the negative consequences of these tasty beverages.

“According to a study from the University of Iowa, sports drinks can be more corrosive to teeth than colas and energy drinks. Researchers found that the high sugar content and acids in sports drinks can damage tooth enamel and the roots of teeth. With weakened enamel, the teeth are more susceptible to bacteria that can sneak into the cracks and crevices in the teeth. Sugar can intensify the situation and encourage the bacterial growth.”

True, we all need to stay hydrated during summer months, and sports events. Hydration prevents dry-mouth and promotes saliva production, which protects the teeth by neutralizing and rinsing away acids and debris. But sports drinks and sugary beverages should be minimized. The best way to quench your thirst and hydrate in the summer and during athletic events is to drink water, the good old-fashioned beverage from mother earth.

Dentists already have their work cut out for them trying to promote best practices to children, teens and adults when it comes to managing our mouths. Mass consumption of readily available convenience stores, soft drinks, junk foods and trendy beverages make their job more difficult and put your dental health at risk.
The best defense for dehydration during summer and during play is hydration, which is healthy for every part of your body.

You can educate and send a healthier message to your kids and teens by reminding them to replace sports drinks, soft drinks and energy drinks with more water. Communicate, write notes and send texts to remind them to stay healthy and drink H20. Of course they can still drink those beverages, but just cut down on them – and look at them as a reward.

Try it, your dentist and pocket book will smile, I assure you.
When I make a hit song, I will post it to my blog and let you know. But for now, the message is yours to share. H2O is the way to go!