by Dr. Anson Hooper, DDS, Hooper Family Dental
If you are anything like me and most of the population, you don’t drink enough water!
Hydration helps our system distribute vital nutrients, gets rid of waste, improves the skin’s complexion and keeps our muscles fit. Drinking plenty of water helps our teeth stay healthy — especially if it’s fluoridated water. Consuming water with fluoride is one of the most beneficial things we can do to help prevent cavities.
Why drinking more water improves oral health:
No calories: An increase in the consumption of sugary beverages has been a major contributor to the increasing rate of caries (tooth decay) in the United States. The sugar in these drinks is the food source for the bacteria in our mouth.
Systemically, individuals who consume one or more sugary beverages a day are 26% more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes. The best way to avoid these negative circumstances is by substituting colas, juices or sports drinks with water.
Prevent dry mouth: Did you know that saliva is 99% water? When you are low on saliva production, you will experience dry mouth —– a condition that makes swallowing and chewing difficult, complicating food digestion.
Saliva serves as the mouth’s first defense against tooth decay. It washes away leftover food particles and helps you swallow with ease. Saliva also contains nutrients such as calcium and phosphate groups that help keep your teeth strong. Increased water intake helps.
Neutralizes pH: The normal pH range for saliva is between 6.2 and 7.6; food and beverages change the pH level. For example, bacteria in our mouth break down the carbohydrates we consume, releasing acid. The water we drink flushes these acids out of our mouth, in turn raising the pH in our mouth and restoring a “neutral” pH environment.
Strengthens the teeth: Drinking water with fluoride, which is “nature’s cavity fighter” is one of the easiest and most beneficial things we can do to help prevent cavities. Fluoride is a mineral and in the right amount, it strengthens teeth.
You generally get fluoride in your local tap water. In 2015, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a recommendation for the optimal fluoride level that should be in drinking water to prevent tooth decay. Evidence shows that for most cities, every $1 invested in fluoridation saves $38 in costs to treat dental problems.