If there was one piece of advice all doctors wish we’d follow, it’s to drink more water. The average modern American adult is chronically dehydrated, so it’s no surprise if you’re used to hearing the advice. The human body is 60% water, which is why being short on water is bad news for so many of your body’s systems. But the benefits to your oral health are greater than just supplying moisture to your cells. When you drink water, you are also keeping your mouth clean and fighting back against plaque and tooth decay.
Let’s dive into the five interesting and healthy ways that drinking water is good for your teeth.
Drinking Water Cleans Teeth and Prevents Plaque
When you take a bite of your snack or dinner, your teeth get pretty involved. Chewing means rolling food around in your mouth until it’s ready to swallow. Particles of the food you chew get stuck in the creases and grooves and coat the surface of your teeth. That food residue on your teeth becomes the foundation for plaque and mouth bacteria – which is why dentists recommend brushing your teeth after every meal.
What most people don’t know is that drinking one big glass of water is almost as good as brushing your teeth. With every swallow, water swirls around and cleans your mouth by carrying away those left on food particles and denying plaque any food to grow with.
Water Dilutes Enamel-Eating Acids
Eating very sugary or acidic foods can increase the loss of your tooth enamel. The acid in sugar, alcohol, or vinegar will coat your teeth and then slowly eat away at the enamel for every day you enjoy acidic or sugary foods. Water, however, dilutes and breaks down the acids that like to coat your teeth. A simple glass of water every few hours can keep your mouth clean and healthy. In fact, you can still safely enjoy sugary snacks in moderation as long as you drink water afterward and maintain good oral hygiene habits.
Water Keeps Your Mouth Hydrated and Healthy
Many people suffer from a condition where the mouth does not produce enough saliva. Without enough saliva in your mouth, you are at a higher risk of plaque, bacteria, and gum disease. There are many causes of “dry mouth” but one very simple daily solution. To help reduce the increased risks from dry mouth to your oral health, simply drink more water.
Water provides the moisture your body needs to make saliva – and everything else. Swirl water around in your mouth to help activate your saliva function safely throughout the day. Use water to keep the inside of your mouth clean and moistened, even if there is not enough saliva to do the job.
Water Reduces Your Craving for Acidic Snacks
As humans, we often get our wires crossed when it comes to cravings. We crave salt when we are thirsty because salt helps humans retain water in the body. You may also crave sweet, as a water-filled fruit is one of the best safe sources of hydration in nature. But the best way to satiate your snack cravings is a big glass of water.
By drinking water instead of snacking, you can not only kill your fast-food cravings, but you will also reduce the amount of time that acidic or sugary particles remain eating the enamel on your teeth.
Water Makes It Safer to Snack
When you do decide to snack, having a glass of water after your dive into sweet or salty deliciousness will keep your teeth clean. Sodas and smoothies both leave your teeth coated in acidic sugar. Fast food leaves particles of salt and fat lodged in your teeth to feed any oral bacteria that find it. Any food that remains on your teeth for hours on end can do harm. But you don’t always have to bust out the toothbrush and minty paste.
Instead, just try a glass of water after every snack. A quick rinse with water will break up and wash away most of those snack particles that might have lingered on your teeth. If you really like your afternoon chips or an evening cookie, then simply rinse your mouth after each snack so your teeth are clean for the longest part of each day. In addition to drinking water, chewing sugar-free gum immediately after a meal is another helpful way to clean your teeth.
Water Minerals and Fluoride Strengthen Your Tooth Enamel
Finally, there is the simple wisdom of drinking tap water. When your teeth are exposed to earth minerals as found in hard water home taps, your tooth enamel will re-mineralize to restore some hardness and integrity. Fluoride is especially good at protecting your teeth and promoting healthy tooth enamel, but it’s less common than calcium or magnesium in the nearby water supply. That is why cities usually treat their processed water supply with fluoride. For this reason, drinking tap water regularly from your home water tap is one of the best ways to remineralize your tooth enamel.
Each time you drink a glass of water from the tap, remember that the minerals and fluoride are rebuilding the enamel protection around your teeth. If you mostly enjoy bottled or filtered water for personal reasons, consider asking your dentist for a fluoride treatment. This can have a concentrated positive effect on the strength of your teeth over time and regular fluoride treatments can keep your enamel lasting for many years after your teeth would have lost their protection.
Water is Always Good for Your Oral Health
Is water good for the health of your teeth and gums? Absolutely. Water rehydrates your body and prevents dry mouth risks to your health. Water keeps your mouth clean because it washes away food particles, breaks up bacteria, and dilutes acids that build up on the surfaces of your teeth. Water can be used to reduce your cravings for snacks that cause tooth decay and rinse away the residue from snacks that you do enjoy. When it comes to making a healthy choice for your mouth, teeth, and gums, having a glass of water is always a good idea. For more helpful insights into oral health or to find the right dentist for your regular visits, contact us today!
Have you scheduled your biannual dental visit yet? 21st Century Dentistry would love to see you. Call (615) 560-7382 today, or contact us online to book a cleaning with a “dentist near me.”