Ask the Doctor: Stay hydrated as the warm, summer months come - Ahwatukee Foothills News: News

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Ask the Doctor: Stay hydrated as the warm, summer months come

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Posted: Monday, June 9, 2014 10:15 am

Why is it important to stay hydrated?

About 60-75 percent of our body is made up of water and needs to be replenished in order to function properly. Especially with the warm, summer months coming upon us, it is important to stay hydrated.

When your body is hydrated, about a milliliter of saliva is in the mouth. Saliva is important because it helps neutralize the pH levels in the mouth. It prevents food and drinks from forming decay on the teeth – thus preventing decay. Saliva also helps digest and chew food as well as prevents food from getting stuck in your teeth.

What happens in the mouth when the body is dehydrated?

A person can experience what is called dry mouth or xerostomia, which can result in speech and swallowing difficulty, dry nasal passages, burning sensation, hoarseness or a sore throat. If you are not properly hydrated you can also experience tooth decay, enamel erosion, and plaque build-up.

How do you treat a dry mouth?

According to the American Dental Association, chewing sugarless gum, drinking water, and sucking on sugar-free candies can help create more saliva.. Also, having a home that is cool in temperatures will help increase humidity and prevent dry mouth from occurring as easily.

What if you have a severe case of dry mouth?

If none of the above helps, prescription medications, mouthwashes, toothpastes, and chewing gums can help moisturize the mouth. Apart from that, drinking a lot of water and staying hydrated is the best way to prevent dry mouth. Dr. Rashmi (Rush) Bhatnagar, DMD, MPH is able to help by educating and determining whether or not a person has a dry mouth.

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