It’s generally recommended that adults drink eight glasses of water per day — but that advice can be misleading. Hydration needs vary from person to person and even from day to day. For example, we tend to sweat more in the summer, which increases the need for fluid intake. Without enough water, you could end up suffering from a dry mouth and an increased risk of oral health problems — in addition to other health issues. How can you take if you are drinking enough? Watch out for these subtle signs of dehydration in Colorado Springs:
A Dry Mouth and Bad Breath
When you become dehydrated, your mouth may start to feel dry due to a lack of saliva. Without saliva to wash away bacteria and food particles, unpleasant odors could soon start to develop. While you might be tempted to simply take a breath mint when you detect a bad smell coming from your mouth, it may be better to drink a glass of water instead.
Muscle Spasms and Cramps
Few things are as annoying as a charley horse. That sudden pain could indicate that you are lacking important electrolytes, which are lost through sweat. Drinking water can help to rehydrate you, but you may need to do even more. Snacking on a banana and eating a few salted nuts can help to replenish your electrolytes. Alternatively, you could have a sports drink — but try not to make sports drinks into a habit. They are quite acidic and can harm your teeth.
Research has found that dehydration can temporarily shrink brain tissue, leading to pain. For some people, dehydration is even a migraine trigger.
If you are well-hydrated, your urine should be a light color, perhaps the color of lemonade or even lighter. If your urine is dark and has a strong smell, it may be too concentrated, indicating the need for you to drink more fluids.
Of course, there are other reasons why urine may change color. If you are hydrated but your pee is not the shade you are used to seeing, you may need to visit your primary care practitioner.
Hunger and thirst signals both come from the same area of the brain. If you recently ate but still feel like snacking, it might be that you are actually thirsty instead of hungry. Try drinking some water and waiting about 20 minutes. Your cravings might disappear!
Dehydration can often lead to a generalized sensation of illness. It may cause symptoms like nausea, tiredness, and weakness. You might even think you are coming down with a case of summer flu. However, it could be that you just need to take some time to hydrate yourself.
Dehydration can be subtle. Watch out for signs of it so you can stay healthy and strong while you are enjoying the summer sun.
Meet the Dentist
Dr. Erick T. Anderson is an experienced general dentist who provides preventive, restorative, and cosmetic services to the Colorado Springs community. If you have questions about your oral health, he and our team would be pleased to speak with you. Contact us at 719-593-0988.