Hydration is essential for total body health, but drinking water is also good for oral health. Our bodies are 60 percent water. Staying hydrated is vital for distributing nutrients, getting rid of waste, lubricating joints, protecting organs, tissues, and more. Drinking enough water is essential for your oral health, especially if it contains fluoride.
Find out more about the link between drinking enough water and caring for your oral health.
Fluoridated Water Prevents Tooth Decay
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that’s released into the environment. Almost all water contains fluoride, but it’s not at high enough concentrations to prevent tooth decay. Because of this, many city water systems add fluoride to the drinking water supply as a public health measure.
Our teeth are covered in enamel, which is stronger than bone and formed from calcium and phosphate. Our saliva also contains calcium and phosphate to coat the teeth and help them maintain their strength. Certain foods we eat, such as carbs and acidic foods, can encourage bacteria and acids that strip the enamel.
Over time, these acids can leach calcium and phosphate from the tooth enamel. This weakens the enamel and leaves the underlying tooth vulnerable to cavities and decay. Saliva is necessary to prevent this since it coats the teeth and restores some lost calcium and phosphate.
When you drink water with fluoride, it concentrates in your saliva, and your teeth can absorb it. The result is a stronger defense to prevent cavities.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 73 percent of the US population on community water systems had access to fluoridated water, which is essential for preventing tooth decay.1
Though fluoridated water is a source of contention for some, this practice is endorsed by the American Medical Association, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Dental Association.
Water Rinses Your Mouth
Drinking water throughout the day can rinse away the residue from food and acids that bacteria can feed on. If the bacteria can’t build up in the mouth, it can’t create acids that erode the enamel and leave teeth vulnerable to decay.
While drinking water isn’t a replacement for brushing, flossing, and visiting a dentist as a form of oral hygiene, it can support these practices throughout the day. Plaque is less likely to build up in a clean, hydrated mouth, and drinking water rinses the mouth out and removes some of the residue and bacteria that can contribute to tooth decay.
Water Helps with Dry Mouth
Saliva is 99 percent water and acts as a natural defense against cavities and tooth decay. The normal daily production of saliva is between 0.5 and 1.5 liters, which is necessary for protecting and lubricating the teeth, controlling microbial activity, and aiding digestion.2
A lack of adequate saliva in the mouth, also known as dry mouth, can increase the risk of tooth decay and compromise your oral health.3 Drinking enough water throughout the day helps with saliva production and staves off dry mouth.
Water Contains No Sugar
As mentioned, sugary foods and drinks create an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive. Drinking excessive soda, fruit juice, or other sugary beverages bathes your teeth in sugar, giving bacteria more opportunities to proliferate in your mouth. Water has no sugar, no carbohydrates, and no calories, so it can only help the environment in your mouth.
Indirectly, drinking water is better than sugary beverages for your overall health. Sugary drinks can contribute to obesity and conditions like diabetes, which can indirectly impact your oral health and make you more prone to oral health conditions.4
In addition, tap water is free! Drinking sugary drinks all day can add up, but tap water is readily available, just as good as bottled, and does much more for your oral and overall health.
Bridge the Gap Between Water and Oral Health with Empire Dental Care
Water can support your oral hygiene to promote overall dental health, but nothing replaces brushing, flossing, and scheduling regular dental appointments. Empire Dental Care has a caring team of dental professionals who offer care tailored to your needs and a holistic approach to wellness. Contact us today to schedule your consultation! 585-671-1650