We all know that drinking water is healthy for our bodies. It’s the healthiest drink out there! It keeps us hydrated, which by extension keeps our skin and other organs healthy. It’s also good for losing weight since there are no calories in water. But did you know that drinking water is beneficial for your oral health? Not many people do, but as if you’d need another reason to drink more water! Here at Children’s Dental Center, we want to instill good habits for your child so that they can grow up to have shiny, healthy teeth. What better way to achieve that than by drinking more water!
So it’s no secret just how good water is for us. Our bodies are 60% made up of water, for goodness sakes. Staying hydrated keeps nutrients traveling through our bodies get rid of waste, gives your skin elasticity and glow, and keeps your muscles moving well. Drinking water constantly throughout the day is good for your health, and it’s perfect if it’s fluoridated. Let’s look at some of the ways that water is good for your teeth!
It strengthens teeth
The U.S. is one of the few countries that put fluoride in its water, and this is a significant contributor to your oral health. Fluoride is “nature’s cavity fighter” and is one of the best things for your teeth. Thankfully, fluoride is also easy to get ahold of and ingest. Fluoride is a natural element that mixes with tooth enamel in growing teeth that helps prevent tooth decay. Fluoride is also helpful after teeth are formed. Fluoride works with saliva to help prevent against plaque. There have been studies on whether or not fluoride in water is helpful. The Canadian city of Calgary stopped putting fluoride in its water in 2011. Researchers became curious about the effects, so they compared the second-graders of Calgary to the second-graders of Edmonton, a city in Canada that has fluoridated their water since 1967. Their research found that children from Calgary, the town that had stopped fluoridation, experienced more tooth decay than the children from Edmonton, the city with uninterrupted fluoridation. Dentists also say that thanks to fluoridated water, half the kids in the U.S. between the ages of 5 and 17 have never had a cavity in their permanent teeth.
It keeps your mouth clean
Drinking anything will help you wash down your food, but drinks like soda, juice, sweetened tea, and sports drinks only leave unwanted sugars behind on your teeth. Your enamel is always fighting against sugars and acids. There are bacteria in your mouth that feeds on the sugars you get from food and drinks. When it eats the sugar, this bacteria produces acid that eats away at enamel. When you eat a sugary treat, your teeth undergo an acid attack, which weakens enamel and, by extension, forms cavities. By drinking sugary beverages – and yes, we mean even 100% fruit juice – it can make your enamel suffer worse. Some drinks even have additional acids in them that are intended to make them taste less sweet, but these acids also eat away at your teeth.
Since water doesn’t have any sugars in it, it does wash away all the food and residue left over that bacteria could get ahold of. It also actually dilutes the acid that is already in your mouth that fights against enamel. Not to mention that the fluoride in the water also helps coat your teeth to fight against the acids as well. It also reverses against tooth decay.
It keeps your mouth from being dry
Tooth decay is something that thrives from dry mouth. That’s because saliva is a big defense against tooth decay. There are minerals in saliva like calcium and phosphate that help your teeth fight against tooth decay. It also helps wash away food and other residues that might have been left behind on your teeth. When your mouth is dry, you produce less saliva which will only help tooth decay. Drinking water helps prevent dry mouth, which in turn keeps tooth decay at bay.
It has no calories!
You may think that this doesn’t apply to oral health, but it does! We mentioned that most other drinks have sugar in them, which is a significant contributor to tooth decay. By drinking water, you’re not adding any extra sugar to your meal or diet in general. Not to mention that drinking water helps to lose weight, so it’s even more guilt-free!
Helps fight against bad breath
Did you ever think of water helping fight against bad breath? It does a lot to help against bad breath. “Morning breath” is caused by dry mouth, and drinking water throughout the day naturally helps with that. It also washes away food particles and tooth decay that can also contribute towards bad breath and it keeps bad breath from forming in the first place.
Children need to start habits like these early, so try these tips to getting your child to drink more water:
- Give them a special cup that they can drink of out that is their own. Kids love to have a special cup that they picked out and that can get them more excited about drinking water.
- Make a sticker chart with daily or weekly water goals. Let them put up a sticker when they reach a water goal, and at the end of the week or month, reward them with a toy, an outing, or a treat: it would also be a good idea to let the reward encourage healthy habits!
- Kids retain everything they see, so try to lead by example! Your child will be more likely to drink water if they see you doing the same, so switch out that soft drink for some good, old-fashioned water!
There’s plenty of reasons out there to drink water, and oral health includes plenty more. Drinking water can help with many different health issues, and there are tons with oral health that can be improved from drinking water. Of course, it’s no substitute for regular brushing and flossing, but rinsing your mouth with water after you eat and drink it with meals and throughout the day can have a huge and positive impact on your oral health. If you have any questions about how to help pair up other fluoride treatments with drinking water, don’t hesitate to call us at 901.861.9668 or visit either of our Children’s Dental Center offices in Germantown or Memphis.