How Drinking Water is Good for Your Oral Health
Some people spend a lot of time thinking about how much water they drink. You see them carrying around large measured water bottles with a “requirement” of how they much drink each day. If you are one of these people, you may have noticed that you have a really healthy mouth.
On the other hand, there are many people who do not drink water. For some, it’s that they do not like plain water. For others, it’s just that they like so many other beverage options better. They begin the day with coffee, then switch to iced tea or soda at lunch, followed by a sports drink at the gym after a workout, and a glass of wine with dinner. This type of beverage intake can wreak havoc on your mouth. If this describes you, you should definitely read this article to learn how important drinking water is to your oral health.
Why NOT Drinking Water is Bad for You
People who do not drink water tend to be consistently dehydrated. This is because most other beverages actually pull water out of your system. This is especially true for any drinks containing caffeine, alcohol, and sugar. When your body is dehydrated, it will naturally produce less saliva and lead to a dry mouth.
Lacking the appropriate amount of saliva puts your mouth at a high risk for dental diseases like cavities and gum disease. It also makes you more likely to injure your soft tissues with cheek, tongue and lip biting, and it increases your risk for mouth sores and ulcers.
Another serious disadvantage lies in the beverages that you are drinking instead of water. The two dangers in our drinks that can lead to dental problems are sugar content and pH. Even sugar-free drinks can damage teeth because of their acidic pH.
Why Drinking Water is Good for You
Water is the perfect drink to support the health of your mouth. It functions in many ways to support healthy teeth and gums.
Neutralizes the Mouth
Plain water is neutral in pH. We have to stress the fact that only plain water is neutral because it is important to note that sparkling water is acidic. Almost every other beverage you can drink is acidic. This includes coffee, tea, sodas, sports drinks, anything carbonated, anything alcoholic, etc . . . The biggest danger to tooth enamel is acid. It is through acid that bacteria in dental plaque break through enamel and cause cavities.
When you drink water, you neutralize the pH of the mouth, which combats the acids produced by cavity-causing bacteria. Water protects the enamel!
Supports Salivary Function
Another important weapon in the fight against acid in the mouth is saliva. Saliva is actually slightly alkaline (above neutral on the pH scale) and counteracts an acidic pH. Without water, your body cannot make saliva. When someone is dehydrated, the body responds by halting the production of saliva, thereby producing a dry mouth. A dry mouth is much more acidic than one well moisturized.
By consistently drinking water, you are supplying your salivary glands with the ingredients they need to produce healthy saliva and protect your mouth!
Drinking water fights bacteria in several different ways. We have already mentioned how the neutral pH of water fights the acidic pH produced by disease-causing bacteria. The bacteria that cause cavities “eat” simple carbohydrates, so by switching from a sugary drink to plain water, you deprive them of their fuel.
A well-moisturized mouth, with plenty of saliva, also makes it more difficult for plaque to stick to the teeth. It is easy for the sticky buildup of dental plaque to adhere to dry teeth and gums. It is much more difficult for them to stick to a slippery surface.
Flushes Loose Food Debris and Plaque
Drinking water is a safe and wonderful way to flush food and plaque from the teeth after a meal. We know it is difficult to brush and floss after lunch during a busy work day. However, if you are already drinking water, you can simply swish a little before you swallow. This helps to break loose areas of food debris or plaque that begins collecting on the teeth and gums when we eat.
This isn’t just a great tool for after you’ve just eaten. Employ it all day to keep your teeth and gums healthy!
Moisturizes the Soft Tissues Lining the Mouth
People with a dry mouth have a much greater chance for mouth sores and injuries. This is because lubrication is an important function of saliva. In a dry mouth without the proper amount of lubrication, there is a higher risk for friction and injuries. Cheek, lip, and tongue biting are common in a dry mouth. So are mouth sores and ulcers.
When you drink water, you are adding moisture and lubrication to the mouth and lowering the risk for painful bites and ulcers.
Important Note about Drinking Water
As we mentioned above, one of the most important advantages of water is the neutral pH. However, you must understand that not all water is neutral in pH. Some brands of bottled water are consistently below neutral (acidic in pH). Other people have a slightly acidic pH of their drinking water from a reverse osmosis filter.
You can check the pH of your tap water on your city’s water report. You can also test the pH of your drinking water with inexpensive pH strips.
More Questions about Drinking Water or Your Specific Dental Issues?
Call your nearest Premier Dental of Ohio location today to schedule a consultation with one of our knowledgeable dentists. We can answer any question you have about oral health in general or your current situation.