Our bodies are made up of about 60% water, so it’s fair to say that we absolutely need to drink plenty of water each and every day to help our bodies perform at their optimal level. In fact, drinking water and staying hydrated helps organs function properly, aids in digestion, keeps joints well lubricated, and can even help fight off illness. But your dentist in Chapel Hill wants you to know there are also oral benefits to staying hydrated.
Everyone naturally has mouth bacteria, but not everyone knows that some of these bacteria are some of the most harmful things for our teeth. As we eat throughout the day, mouth bacteria are getting a feast of their own through the food particles left behind in our mouths. The longer the food is left lingering around, the more the bacteria will consume. As a byproduct of this feeding frenzy, bacteria will give off an acid. This acid, if not removed, will attack the protective layer of teeth and cause decay and cavities. However, if we choose to drink water as we eat, we can help lower this risk. Water helps wash away the source of the bacteria’s meal and without these leftovers to feed on, no acid is produced by the bacteria. Additionally, drinking water immediately after our meals will neutralize any acids that may already be at work attacking the enamel.
Drinking water throughout the day will also help keep our mouths moist, which is key to maintaining good oral health. If our mouths are too dry it means that not enough saliva is being produced. Without saliva, bacteria are able to flourish, feeding on anything we eat and releasing acids over and over. This increases the risk of developing decay and cavities which may require dental treatment from your dentist in Chapel Hill. But that’s not all, dry mouth can also feel uncomfortable and cause chronic bad breath. Keep in mind, dry mouth can be caused by dehydration, but it can also be a result of certain medications, mouth breathing, or smoking. While not all cases of dry mouth are easily solved by drinking plenty of water, it’s not a bad habit to pick up and it certainly can’t hurt.
Drinking water, specifically fluoridated water, can further protect teeth through a process called remineralization. Our teeth’s protective layer of enamel gets worn down over time, whether as a result of too much acid, tooth grinding, or simply time. But drinking water containing fluoride can help remineralize, or rebuild, the lost enamel for better protection. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that’s organically found in some foods. Over time, researchers have found that higher levels of fluoride resulted in lower levels of tooth decay. That’s why fluoride has been added to many public water systems. Patients can also get fluoride from their toothpaste, through foods or drinks that have been fortified with fluoride, or from their dentist in Chapel Hill.
Water is such a simple thing, but it’s one that can make a big difference in both overall and oral health. Make sure each member of your family drinks at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water each and every day.