The many benefits of water are widely known, especially when it comes to our bodies. There is no drink better! It keeps our cells hydrated, which keeps our skin glowing and organs functioning at high levels. Our bodies are even 60% water themselves! Staying hydrated helps us in many ways including getting rid of waste, promoting skin elasticity, and keeping muscles healthy and moving.
But water is not just great for your body; it's also great for your oral health. Here at Scott Edwards DDS, we want to help instill good habits for your child so they can grow up to have strong, healthy teeth. There’s a simple way to do that—drink more water!
Water strengthens teeth
The United States is one of the few countries that adds fluoride to its water. This is noteworthy because fluoride is a significant contributor to your oral health. Flouride is “nature’s cavity fighter” and provides many benefits to your teeth. Flouride mixes with tooth enamel in developing teeth and helps prevent tooth decay. It also works with saliva to prevent plaque.
There have been several studies to determine if fluoride in water is beneficial. Calgary stopped adding fluoride to its water in 2011. The study compared second-grade school children of Calgary to children the same age from Edmonton, a Canadian city that has fluoridated their water since 1967. It was found that children from Calgary had markedly more tooth decay than their counterparts in Edmonton. Dentists also agree that thanks for fluoride in the water, half of the kids in the U.S. between five and seventeen have never had a cavity in their permanent teeth.
Water keeps your mouth clean
Of course, drinking any liquid will help you wash down your food, but nothing works as well as water! When you drink sugary drinks like soda, juice, sports beverages, and sweet tea, unwanted sugars are left behind. Those sugars start to wear down your tooth enamel because bacteria that naturally exists in your mouth ingests sugar to form an acid which attacks enamel.
Since water contains no sugar, it washes away the food you eat and any debris left behind leaving nothing for bacteria to eat. It also dilutes the acid in your mouth that wants to destroy your enamel. The fluoride in the water also provides your teeth with a coating to defend against acids and reverse tooth decay.
Water keeps dry-mouth at bay
It’s a little-known fact that tooth decay thrives on dry mouths. The reason why? Saliva actually defends tooth decay, specifically the minerals in saliva such as calcium and phosphate. Saliva also helps wash away food residues that may be hanging around on your teeth. Drinking water helps prevent against dry mouth by creating more saliva to keep tooth decay away!
Water has no calories!
Again, water help prevents against tooth decay since there are no sugars in it. Drinking water also helps regulate many functions in the body, including metabolism, helping you keep your weight in a healthy place.
Water helps fight against bad breath
Who knew that a cup of water could fight against the worst morning breath or bad breath? Morning breath is caused by dry mouth (think of all of that bacteria going to work – it’s bound to smell bad). By drinking water throughout the day, you can stave off morning breath. It also washes away food particles and prevents tooth decay that contributes to bad breath.
Starting a healthy water drinking habit
It’s best when children (and adults) get into the habit of drinking water at an early age to take advantage of many of its benefits. Here are a few ways to encourage your child to drink more water:
Give your child a special water cup or container that is completely their own. Let them know it is only for drinking water and let them choose their own cup or container, so they are always excited to drink water.
Make a water goals chart. Use a colorful chart and stickers to track how often they make it to their water goal. You can further reward kids with a weekly or monthly reward like an activity, book, or other motivation tool. You can find the charts at most teaching shops and even some office supply stores. Kids also really like it when they get to pick out the stickers!
Monkey see, monkey do. Kids love to mimic others so set a good example by hitting your water goals. Let them help you pick out your special water container so you can keep each other accountable. If you are following your own water rules—so will they!
There are so many reasons to drink water, and great oral health is just one. Now, drinking water doesn't mean you can shirk your regular oral health habits. Be sure to brush three times per day and floss as often as possible. But drinking water after you eat can help clear food debris that can lead to tooth decay and other oral issues. Drink water throughout the day, and you will hit your goal in no time.
If you have any other questions about fluoride, oral care, or the benefits of water, please contact us at 901.681.0011 at our Memphis office.