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Staying hydrated is vital to your oral and overall health. Without enough water, your whole body suffers. Dehydration hinders physical performance, reduces brain function, and affects your other organs. Let’s look at these one at a time.

Physical Performance

Dehydration results are noticeable if a person loses only 2% of their body fluid. It is common for athletes to lose anywhere for 6-10% of their bodily fluids during exercise. Dehydration of this sort can lead to reduced motivation, increased fatigue, and altered body temperature control. As you can imagine, this makes exercise feel much more difficult than usual, both physically and mentally.

Reduced Brain Function

Studies show that even mild dehydration, with 1-3% of body fluid lost, can have adverse effects on brain function and memory, energy levels, and mood. It can also increase the occurrence of headaches. A 150 lb person only needs to lose 1.5-4.5 lbs of fluid during the day. This is easily accomplished during daily activities–to say nothing of exercise or high heat.

Benefits to Other Organs

Water have many benefits to the other organs in the body. Dehydration can make your skin look wrinkled and older; proper hydration can help this (though over-hydration will not get rid of existing wrinkles). Water can benefit kidneys by helping to reduce the occurrence of kidney stones. Water also helps relieve constipation, and can help individuals lose weight. It helps individuals stay satiated, reducing overall calorie intake. It helps your teeth and gums by cleaning them, removing plaque, acids, and food debris from inside your mouth. This helps reduce tooth decay and periodontal problems.

Stay Hydrated

Obviously, it’s a good idea to drink a lot of water. Here are three ways to get more water into your diet:

(1) Have a beverage with every snack or meal. Also, drink a glass of water with any alcoholic beverage you consume. Alcohol is a diuretic, and contributes to dehydration.

(2) Eat more fruits and vegetables. They have a high water content that will contribute to hydration. Approximately 20% of a typical individual’s fluid intake comes from foods.

(3) Keep a bottle of water in your car, at your desk, in your bag, or anywhere close at hand. You are more likely to drink water if it is convenient. This can also help with mindless snacking, as you reach for your water bottle instead of that candy bar.

Remember that most other beverages contribute to your hydration (avoid soft drinks and alcohol). Choose beverages wisely, to meet your individual needs, particularly caloric or nutritional needs.

For more information on staying hydrated and its benefits, contact Andolino Orthodontics in New York, New York, at (212)753-5575. Dr. Frank Andolino and our team are here to help you and your mouth stay healthy and happy!