This one drink can work wonders for your teeth and gums, and the best part is: it’s easy to find!
Maintaining your dental health is a lot more like a marathon than a sprint.
It takes daily brushing, flossing, regular visits to your San Diego dentist, and healthy attention to nutrition to care for your smile…
And when you drill down into the nutrition side of things, arguably one of the most critical factors that can make or break your oral health is what you drink.
With all the sports drinks, energy drinks, sodas, coffee, and other similar beverages out there, your teeth are constantly exposed to harmful sugars that can eat away at your enamel and cause tooth decay.
Luckily though, with mindful consumption of this one drink, you can help maintain a healthy and happy smile.
It’s the Superman of beverages. The ultimate libation. And if you haven’t guessed it already, we’ll give you a hint:
You need it to survive!
That’s right. We’re talking about water. And below, we’ll be uncovering all its dental health-improving secrets. Stick around to find out just how powerful this life-giving liquid can be. What you learn might surprise you!
How Can Drinking Water Help Your Teeth?
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), sipping water is one of the best things you can do for your teeth.
But why is that? What makes it so great?
Let’s find out!
The Secret Ingredient
The secret to water’s dental health-strengthening power lies in its fluoride content.
As you may know, community water fluoridation is a widespread practice across the United States, and the results speak for themselves.
Straight from the ADA, “Fluoridation of community water supplies is the single most effective public health measure to prevent tooth decay.”
And with numbers like these, it’s hard to argue with that statement:
- According to 2014 data, almost 75% of the American population has access to fluoridated water.
- Studies prove water fluoridation reduces tooth decay by more than 25% in children and adults.
Known as “nature’s cavity fighter,” fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that has the incredible ability to strengthen your teeth.
Over time, the protective outer layer of your teeth — called the enamel — naturally breaks down from normal wear and tear and exposure to harmful oral bacteria.
However, frequent daily exposure to fluoride can help delay this process, minimizing tooth decay and even preventing tooth loss.
So, in short, fluoridated water is a tooth’s best friend!
No Sugar, No Calories
Most other drinks come with a solid helping of sugar and calories (some heftier than others).
This sugar, although incredibly tasty, sets the stage in your mouth for the development of harmful bacteria and plaque — the two prime suspects in the case of tooth decay.
Research has consistently shown that frequent exposure to sugars and carbohydrates leads to cavities.
So, to make these drinks more appealing, many companies use sugar substitutes to create low-calorie options. But just because there’s no sugar doesn’t mean these beverages can’t harm your teeth.
Low-calorie, no-sugar sports and energy drinks are often carbonated and acidic, two features known to cause enamel erosion.
Due to their high acidity, these drinks throw off the pH levels in your mouth, lowering them to the point where your tooth enamel begins to break down. This process is known as acid erosion, which, if left untreated, can be a serious threat to your smile.
If you’d like to learn about erosion and how it can impact your dental health, we cover it in our blog about baking soda, a little-known decay-fighting home remedy.
But with H2O, you won’t have to worry about any of that because it’s completely sugar and calorie-free!
In fact, in the next section, we’ll cover how these properties actually serve to protect your teeth…
Nature’s Dental Cleanser
To understand how water can defend your smile, let’s dive into pH levels a little deeper.
The pH scale goes from zero to fourteen, with the lower numbers being acidic and the higher being basic.
Water sits right around the middle of the spectrum, meaning it has neutral, balancing properties.
So, what does that mean?
When you drink acidic beverages like soda and coffee, you decrease the pH level in your mouth.
Since water sits higher on the pH scale, it can counteract that acidity, balancing out your mouth’s pH levels and protecting your teeth from erosion.
In the words of the ADA, it “cleans your mouth with every sip.”
Of course, daily brushing and flossing should still be a staple in your daily dental care routine, but drinking water can act as a healthy preventive measure for your teeth and gums.
Xerostomia’s Worst Nightmare
If you’re wondering what the heck xerostomia is, don’t worry. Chances are, you already know what it is, only by a different name: Dry mouth.
Dry mouth is a condition where your body produces less saliva than usual, which leaves your teeth vulnerable to tooth decay and cavities.
This increased risk occurs because your saliva plays a major role in your dental health. Not only does it help balance out your mouth’s pH levels, but it also supplies your teeth with the minerals they need to stay strong and fight off decay (i.e., calcium, phosphate, and fluoride).
If you struggle with dry mouth, you should consult your San Diego dentist first to find the best course of action. But in the meantime, drinking plenty of water is an excellent way to mitigate the negative side effects of this condition.
How Much Water is Enough?
So, we’ve explored how water is the best drink for your dental health. But how much should you drink to get the most out of it?
We’ve all heard the popular recommendation of eight eight-ounce glasses of water a day (8×8), but is there any science behind it?
According to a meta-review by the American Journal of Physiology, the evidence is lacking. However, in our professional opinion, we think the 8×8 method is a good goal to shoot for.
Because even if you fall short, not only will you be regularly cleaning your mouth throughout the day, but you’ll also be well hydrated.
Also, if you find yourself drinking coffee, soda, or other sugary beverages on a daily basis, we’ve got a good rule of thumb for you:
Whenever you’re enjoying your favorite sugary drink, have a glass of water on the side as well. Taking sips of water in between drinks of your soda or coffee can help balance out the acidity in your mouth, clear out some of the sugars, and defend your teeth from decay.
The Best Offense is a Good Defense
When it comes to dental health, preventive care is the best way to protect your smile. That means good oral hygiene at home and regular checkups and exams at your local dentist.
If you live in the San Diego area, Dental Express is home to a family of trusted professionals dedicated to providing you-focused care.
We offer services for patients of all ages, accept same-day appointments and walk-ins, and promise to always work with you to find the most affordable solution.
Click here to give us a call or schedule an appointment today. When you make Dental Express your dental home, your smile is in good hands.
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Fluoride: Brushing Away the Myths for Good