Water does more than just hydrate the body, maintain body temperature, lubricate joints, and flush out toxins. It is also critical for good oral health. The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommend drinking 11.5 cups of fluids per day for women and 15.5 cups for men. Drinking plenty of water enhanced with fluoride is one of the easiest and most-effective ways to maintain a beautiful smile.
Drinking fluoridated water helps to keep teeth strong and reduces the risk of tooth decay. Fluoride is a mineral found in many public water systems that makes tooth enamel more resistant to demineralization, thus preventing the formation of cavities. If your local supply is not fluoridated, speak to your dentist about fluoride supplements.
Rinses Away Cavity-Causing Bacteria
Cavities are the breakdown of the hard tissues in the mouth. Also referred to as demineralization, this breakdown occurs when acids are produced by the bacteria found in plaque. Drinking water throughout the day helps to rinse away these bad bacteria, along with food particles that remain in the mouth after meals. The fluid also helps to dilute the harmful acids that attack teeth and contribute to decay.
Water Fights Dry Mouth
Dry mouth can occur when the salivary glands do not produce enough saliva. If this happens occasionally, it is probably a result of dehydration. In some cases, dry mouth is caused by a health condition such as diabetes, thrush, Alzheimer’s disease, or an autoimmune disease like Sjogren’s syndrome. Dry mouth is not only uncomfortable but can increase your risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Sipping water throughout the day can help keep the mouth moist.
Helps Keep Your Breath Smelling Fresh
Bad breath is caused by odor-producing bacteria that grows in the mouth. Food particles on your teeth can combine with bacteria in the mouth. These bacteria then release sulfur compounds that make your breath smell foul. Along with good oral hygiene practices, you can help keep your breath smelling fresh all day by drinking plenty of water to wash away food particles and harmful bacteria.
Tips to Drink More Water
It’s not always easy to get enough water throughout the day. You may forget to drink or have difficulty drinking due to its plain taste. Here are a few simple tips to help you increase your daily intake.
- Add natural flavoring. If you don’t care for the taste of plain water, add some fresh cut fruit or herbs to your glass to give it an instant flavor boost. Trying infusing cucumbers, melons, citrus fruit, mint, cinnamon, or fresh ginger root into your water.
- Challenge yourself to drink more. Make drinking water a game by setting daily goals. For example, challenge yourself to drink a certain number of bottles by lunch and additional ones by dinner.
- Drink before a meal. It can be hard to get enough water when you fill up on food. Make it a habit to drink a full glass before digging into your meal.