Electrolytes and the Importance of Hydration
Maintaining the right electrolyte balance in your body is very important for good health. Keeping hydrated with electrolytes can help your body thrive in a number of different ways from head-to-toe. Smiles by Shields is Dr. Tiffany Shields Jacksonville, Florida dental practice. At our practice, we believe in a whole-body approach to nutrition and dental health. Oral wellness contributes to your body being able to function properly. One of those beneficial ways is through hydration. Let’s look at the importance of electrolytes and hydration for whole-body wellness.
Defining an Electrolyte in Nutrition
An electrolyte is actually a mineral that when it’s introduced to the fluids in the body, helps to maintain proper function, including the regulation of nerves and muscles. The electrolytes create electrically charged ions that not only balance the amount of water in your body, but also balance your pH levels, give your cells vital nutrients, and move things you don’t need away from your cells (waste products).
Going further into looking at the balance of fluids in your body, the ideal state is to have the ratio of water and electrolytes stable with each other. When you experience dehydration, the cells have more electrolytes than water. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you can also be overhydrated where there is too much water in your cells. The problem of this can be fixed by eating the right amount of electrolytes contained in the foods and drinks you consume.
How to Get the Proper Amount of Electrolytes
You can get all the right electrolytes for your body by eating and drinking a variety of healthy foods and liquids. That includes eating a rainbow diet of fruits and vegetables, drinking dairy, and getting enough water.
Some electrolyte minerals include sodium, potassium, chloride, magnesium, and phosphate. Getting enough of each mineral is going to contribute to a healthier body.
If You Have an Imbalance of Electrolytes
When you have an imbalance of electrolytes in your body, it can affect you in a number of ways. You may have some symptoms like the following:
- Faster Heart Rate
- Trouble Breathing
- Swelling (Edema)
- Foggy Thinking
An imbalance of electrolytes can occur after you go through a significant sickness. That includes heavy sweating where you are in danger of becoming dehydrated, vomiting, or diarrhea. All of those during an illness can make your electrolyte level become severely unbalanced.
Long term consequences of dehydration and an electrolyte imbalance can make nerve and bone disorders a problem. That can include trouble with your teeth. Dehydration in your body is bad for your mouth, not only for your teeth, but your gums can be affected as well.
Since you don’t want to end up with a dental disease, like gingivitis, talk to us at Smiles by Shields so that we can look for signs of dehydration in your mouth during your visit with us. As a dentist in Jacksonville, Florida, Dr. Shields is happy to explain the proper amount of hydration through electrolytes that your body needs for total dental health.
Foods and Drinks That Bring Back Your Electrolyte Levels
You may think of drinking a sports drink like Gatorade to help your electrolyte levels. And while that will give you a boost of electrolytes, it does contain a lot of excess sugars. You may be better off drinking some unsweetened coconut water, or drinking 100 percent fruit juice without added sugar, like apple or cranberry.
It’s also great to get electrolytes in certain types of foods. Some of those foods include lean proteins like chicken, dairy products, fruits such as watermelon that have high water content, bananas and avocados with high levels of potassium, and green vegetables.
There are also electrolyte waters that don’t have added sugars which may be helpful to add to your daily routine.
Once you add the right amount of electrolytes to your lifestyle, you’ll be surprised at how much healthier you feel. Plus you are protecting the future health of your body, including your mouth, teeth, and all of your organs from certain diseases and problems.
Contact Our Experts
If you have questions about proper hydration and electrolytes or need to schedule an appointment, contact our experts at Smiles by Shields. We look forward to answering your questions!