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Thomas J. Skleba, DDS, FAGD

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Katarina S. Crause, DDS

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Dehydrated Gums – How Dehydration Affects Oral Health

Dehydrated Gums – How Dehydration Affects Oral Health

Published on August 10th, 2022

Bamboo toothbrush resting on water glass.

How Dehydration Impacts Gum Health

Hydration is vital to our overall health and well-being. Appropriate water levels are essential to everything that goes on in the body, including maintaining optimal dental health. When the human body becomes dehydrated, we see various symptoms, one of the first signs often being dry mouth. A shortage of moisture in the mouth, or saliva, can harm both the teeth and gum tissue.

Dehydration causes everything from dry skin to kidney failure, it just depends on how severe the dehydration is; but even minor dehydration can lead to oral health issues.

When we become dehydrated, our saliva production is reduced, which means there is less moisture in the mouth. This can lead to cavities, bad breath, stained teeth, weakened enamel, and a heightened risk of developing gum disease.

Saliva is essential for good oral health because saliva helps wash away food debris and bacteria, and carries essential minerals to the teeth. When bacteria are allowed to build up, or teeth are deprived of minerals like calcium due to dry mouth, this can increase the risk of disease and other dental problems. Not only are individuals more likely to suffer from gum disease and tooth decay, but they may become more susceptible to kidney disease, heart disease, and other general health issues.

Gum Disease

Without enough saliva to wash away bacteria in the mouth, plaque and tartar can build up, slowly breaking down tooth enamel and causing damage to gum tissue. When bacteria accumulates, gum disease develops, resulting in gum soreness, swelling, bleeding, receding gums, loose teeth, and other symptoms.

Does Dehydration Cause Swollen Gums

Without healthy gum tissue, your overall dental health will suffer. It is important to be able to identify dehydration before the issue persists and causes gum disease. You may notice signs of dehydration in the mouth, or you may notice them in other areas of the body.

Teeth can suffer from dehydration after whitening treatments, as well as due to open mouth breathing, congestion, and general dehydration.

Below is a list of some of the symptoms to watch for that may indicate dehydration and/or dehydrated teeth.

  • Infrequent urination
  • Dark urine
  • Bad breath
  • Dry mouth/tongue
  • White spots on teeth
  • Sticky tongue
  • Dry or cracked lips/skin
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Tight or shrinking skin
  • Swollen or puffy gums
  • Reddened gums
  • Tender gums
  • Receding gums
  • Tooth sensitivity or pain

Contact Us at Cary Dental Associates

If you are concerned that your dental health has been affected by dehydration, contact our office today and schedule an appointment with Cary Dental Associates. When you need a reliable dentist in Cary, IL, we are your source for thorough dental examinations, cosmetic dentistry, restorative procedures, and more.

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