Keep That Saliva Flowing
Dehydration occurs when your body loses more water than it takes in, making it unable to carry out its normal functions properly. In both children and adults, dehydration can be caused by excessive sweating, vomiting or diarrhea. Symptoms of mild to moderate dehydration can include dry skin, headache, dizziness and dry mouth.
Saliva plays an important role in keeping teeth healthy. It helps wash away bits of food that might otherwise linger on or between teeth. Those food particles provide a breeding ground for bacteria that can lead to tooth decay. Saliva also carries disease-fighting substances that can prevent cavities, while keeping tooth enamel strong by providing calcium, fluoride and phosphate ions to the tooth surface. Dry mouth—a lack of saliva—can have a negative effect on teeth. Dr. Jared often recommends that children increase the flow of saliva by drinking water and chewing sugarless gum.
While scientific studies have identified associations between saliva and dental disease and between saliva and dehydration, the precise nature of the connection between dehydration and dental disease has yet to be firmly established. Nonetheless, it is important that your child stay hydrated, especially if he or she is sick or exercises in the heat.
Your child can avoid dry mouth by drinking plenty of water and eating water-containing foods, such as fruits and vegetables. Thirst is generally a good guide. But if your child is ill, you need to encourage fluid consumption early on, so that he or she does not become dehydrated. Use an oral rehydration solution to replace lost electrolytes, and stay away from sodas, which contain a lot of sugar.
Dry mouth may be caused by dehydration, some medications or a medical condition. If your child complains of dry mouth, call us for an appointment at KiDDS Dental so we can assess his or her oral health. We can narrow down the cause of dry mouth and prescribe treatments that restore salivary function and keep your child’s teeth and gums healthy.
If you have questions about your child's dry mouth, click here to schedule an appointment with Dr. Jared. Or give us a call at (509)-891-7070.