How Water Impacts Our Oral Health
Water. We all know it’s important. Most of us can probably quote the statistic that up to 60% of our bodies are good ole H20. Although this percentage may decline as we age, our body water percentage typically remains above 50% for the duration of our lifetime. So how does it impact our oral health?
Water is Your Oral Health Friend
It’s necessary to live, imperative to drink, and an oral health proponent. Let’s take a quick look at the facts behind water and oral health:
- Water does NOT contain sugar. This allows water to wash away food remnants and other debris so that there is nothing for bacteria to eat.
- Water dilutes the acid in your mouth. We care about this tidbit because it means that water protects our tooth enamel, while acid seeks to destroy it.
- Water may contain fluoride. Fluoride provides our teeth with a coating to defend against acids and reverse tooth decay.
- Water can reduce bad breath. A glass of water can wash away residue that might cause stains, reduce the bacteria that cause bad breath, and also strengthen your tooth enamel. It functions to remove plaque and bacteria buildup, which are often attributed to issues with halitosis.
Hydration Station – It’s Not Just Fun to Say, It’s a Way of Life
We know that when the warm weather hits, you may crave the refreshing taste of a soda or soft drink. And enjoying one of these beverages in moderation is certainly okay. However, it’s important that you balance out these sugary cravings with a proper amount of water.
Most of us have lived by the “8 glasses of water a day” standard that we’ve heard for most of our lives. While this is a good general rule of thumb, it will vary depending on a number of factors, including but not limited to: exercise/activity, the weather/environment, overall health, and pregnancy.
In addition to water, many fruits and vegetables are 100% water by weight, including foods like watermelon & spinach. Additionally, there are beverages that you can turn to besides water to stay hydrated because, guess what – they’re made mainly of water too! Think about liquids like milk, juice and herbal teas.
A Look at What Dehydration Can Do to Your Oral Health
Simply put, being dehydrated means losing more water than you take in; in other words, not having as much water as you need. We lose water from our bodies everyday because of actions like sweating, breathing, urinating, spitting and even crying. If you’re experiencing symptoms of illness like vomiting, diarrhea or a fever, you may lose more water than usual. It’s important that we do our best to replace the water we’ve lost in these situations for our overall health.
More specifically, let’s take a look at how dehydration impacts our oral health:
- When we’re dehydrated, our volume of saliva decreases
- A decrease in saliva can increase the risk of dry mouth and dental disease
- Less saliva also limits the mouth’s ability to remove plaque and bacteria; and with plaque and bacteria buildup, the risk of tooth decay and gum disease greatly increases
- Dry mouth can lead to bad breath, mouth sores and mouth infections
Hydration is key to healthy functioning body systems. Always be mindful of and listen to what your body is telling you. If anything with your health in general feels off kilter, be sure to contact your doctor; if you’ve experienced consistent dehydration and notice any issues occurring in your mouth, contact us!