It’s springtime, and with that comes all of the fun outdoor activities that we’ve been missing over the winter: hiking, biking, sports of all kinds… we’re going to need to stay hydrated. How we do that?
Drinking plenty of water is the key to good health. Without water, your body has a hard time flushing away waste and keeping your body cool. This is especially true if you live in a hot climate, or when you exert yourself. Making sure your body has the fluid it needs to function properly is one of the most important things (among a healthy diet and exercise) you can do to preserve your health.
That’s pretty common knowledge. What’s also common knowledge is that you can get water from other drinks (such as coffee, soft drinks, sports drinks, fruit juice, tea, etc.) as well as from your food. Some foods, like watermelon and celery, contain A LOT of water. It is certainly true that you can stay hydrated with a soft drink; healthy snacks like watermelon and celery CAN absolutely contribute to a healthy diet. HOWEVER, we must pay attention to where we trade water for something like a soft drink, or even fruit.
Why? If hydration is the key, then why does it matter where the water comes from?
Good question. It matters because of the additional stuff that’s entering your body when you drink or eat something that’s not water. In the case of fruit or juice, you’re adding acid and sugar to your diet—acid and sugar that is washing over your teeth and gums as you consume it. In the case of a soft drink, it’s lots of sugar, lots of acid, and plenty of chemicals, too.
You can see where I’m going with this. Sugar plus acid equals a bad day for your oral health. The potential loss of enamel and probable contribution to gum disease that a sugar- and acid-filled diet indicates is enough to make any dentist cringe.
It’s important for your oral health (as well as your overall health!) to drink water as your main source of hydration. If you don’t already do this, I’ve included some tips on how to get more water into your diet:
Drink a glass of water as soon as you wake up in the morning. If you can remember to walk to the kitchen and get a fresh glass, great! If not, put a glass of water next to your bed before you go to sleep—it’ll be waiting on you when you wake. This is the quickest, fool proof way to get a glass of water into your system first thing in the morning.
Keep a water bottle at your desk, or in your purse. There may be a water fountain close, but if you have to get up from your work to get there, you probably won’t go often enough. Having a water bottle at your desk, or even in your purse if you’re on the move, is a great way to have access to a sip whenever you like.
Flavor your water with fruit or fresh herbs. Still want the flavors of juice and sugary drinks without the sugar? Use slices of fresh fruit (or frozen—it doubles as ice!) or fresh herbs to dress up your drink. Slices of orange, kiwi, and strawberry are great for adding a fruity element to your water. Keep a pitcher of cucumber and spearmint water in the refrigerator if your goal is to keep something refreshing and cool on hand. The possibilities are endless!
Drink a glass of water before you begin a meal. This is a good idea on two fronts: 1) Mealtime is a great signal that it’s time to catch up on your water intake. 2) It helps fill you up! If you’ve ever had problems with eating the right kinds of food or eating too much food at meals, this is a great solution for you.
Invest in a filtering system. Maybe you just don’t like the taste of your water. Investing in a filtering system could improve the quality and taste of your tap water. If that doesn’t work, try buying bottled water! Your health is worth the investment.
If you’re already experiencing oral health issues because of too many sugary beverages, don’t panic. Grab a glass of water, then call our office to schedule an appointment. We can offer lots of great advice about keeping your mouth and body healthy, as well as treat any existing problems there may be.
You can reach our office at (812) 945-7645. We’d love to meet you and help keep your oral health in check this spring.