It doesn’t matter if your glass is half-empty or half-full: Drinking water is always good for your health. Our bodies are made of 60% water, and staying hydrated helps your system distribute healthy nutrients, gets rid of waste, gives your skin a healthy glow and keeps your muscles moving. Sipping water is also one of the best things you can do for your teeth – especially if it’s fluoridated. Read on to find out why water is always a winner for your dental health.
It Strengthens Your Teeth
Drinking water with fluoride (called “nature’s cavity fighter”) is one of the easiest and most beneficial things you can do to help prevent cavities. A modern-day tale of two cities shows what a difference fluoride makes, especially in community water systems. In 2011, the Canadian city of Calgary stopped adding fluoride to its water. Curious about the impact, researchers compared Calgary second graders with kids in the same age group in Edmonton, a Canadian city that has had fluoridated water since 1967. Their research, published in the February 2016 journal Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology, found children in non-fluoridated Calgary had more tooth decay than children in the city with uninterrupted fluoridation.
It Keeps Your Mouth Clean
Drinking juice, soda or sports drinks may help you wash down your dinner, but they can leave unwanted sugar behind on your teeth. The cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth love to eat sugar and produce acid that wears away enamel, which is the outer shell of your teeth. Many of these drinks also have added acids (phosphoric, citrus or malic acid) to make them taste less sweet, but those acids also cause trouble by eroding away enamel.
Water, however, cleans your mouth with every sip. It washes away leftover food and residue that cavity-causing bacteria are looking for. It also dilutes the acids produced by the bacteria in your mouth. You’ll still need to brush twice a day for two minutes and clean between your teeth, but drinking water through the day will go a long way toward keeping your smile cavity-free.
It Fights Dry Mouth
Saliva is your mouth’s first defense against tooth decay. It washes away leftover food, helps you swallow with ease and keeps your teeth strong by washing them with calcium, phosphate and fluoride. When your saliva supply runs low, dry mouth may put you at risk for tooth decay. Drinking water can help cut your risk as you and your dentist work to find the best long-term solution for you.
Sweetened drinks that are high in sugar and calories, create a perfect storm that puts you at risk for cavities and other unhealthy consequences like weight gain. In fact, studies have shown that drinking water can actually help you lose weight. So the next time you need a drink, go guilt-free with water to take care of your body and your smile.