Every day, millions of Americans brush their teeth and floss to keep their smile healthy and happy. But did you know that drinking water is another important element of caring for your oral health? This week, May 6-12, is Drinking Water Week, and we’re urging our patients to rethink hydration! Since studies show that up to 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated, we’re breaking down six ways that water can improve your smile and make you your healthiest self.
1. Water strengthens your teeth.
In an effort to prevent tooth decay, strengthen enamel, and support a process called remineralization, the government has regulated the addition of fluoride to drinking water. According to the American Dental Association, the addition of fluoride to water has decreased tooth decay—one of the most common chronic diseases across the world—by up to 25%. As a result, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention calls water fluoridation one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.
2. Water helps reduce tooth staining.
Though many delicious foods and drinks are colorful, some options like berries, candy, or coffee can lead to tooth staining. By swishing with water, you can often reduce the impact of staining, rinsing away lingering particles on your teeth and promoting a bright smile.
3. Water keeps breath fresh.
Often times, bad breath is caused by dehydration or remnants of pungent foods you ate throughout the day. While plenty of products, like gum or mouthwash, claim to eliminate bad breath, many fail to address the underlying problems. They simply mask odors rather than address their cause. To keep your mouth clean and fresh, wash away odor-causing bacteria by drinking water and staying hydrated.
4. Water improves dry mouth.
One potential cause of dry mouth is dehydration. Dry mouth is a condition that causes your mouth to produce less saliva than it should. Because saliva protects you from tooth decay by neutralizing acids in the mouth, decreased saliva production can be detrimental to your oral health.
5. Water maintains a healthy pH balance in your mouth.
Our pH levels of our mouths can tell us a lot about our oral health. While a neutral pH level is 7.0, acidic foods and beverages, like soda or fruit, can shift that level off balance, contributing to acid in the mouth and enamel erosion. Luckily, fluoridated water (most bottled or tap water) can protect your enamel against the acids that lead to decay. Drink or rinse water after you eat to wash away lingering food, bacteria, and acid.
6. Drinking water improves overall health.
Water does more than just quench your thirst; it also keeps your tissues and joints healthy, aids in digestion, and regulates your body temperature. Because oral health and whole-body wellness are interconnected, it’s important to stay hydrated to boost your smile and your health. Your body will thank you!