hydration and oral health

Hydration & Your Mouth: Oral Health Benefits of Water

May 20, 2022

Science shows that water keeps your brain functions strong, headaches at bay, and even helps you lose weight. However, water also benefits your mouth. Choosing water over sugary beverages is one of the best ways to care for your oral health. It’s time to put down the soda and learn more about the oral health benefits of water.

Water Keeps Teeth Strong

If you drink water from a tap, you are likely helping your teeth and bones stay strong by ingesting added fluoride (depending where you live). This fluoridation of water, supplementing tap water with fluoride, has been called one of the greatest advancements in public health, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The fluoridation of public water started in 1945 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Now, about 73 percent of the United States population has access to fluoridated water.

It is important to note that some water filtration devices, such as reverse osmosis systems, can remove a significant amount of fluoride from tap water. Therefore, people who drink primarily from these systems may not get the benefits of the fluoridation of water.

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found in your teeth and bones. It’s also found in soil, water, plants, and even the air. The mineral helps prevent cavities and tooth decay by strengthening the outer layer of teeth, or enamel. This is why many oral health products, such as toothpastes and mouth rinses, contain fluoride. 

By simply choosing to drink from a water source containing fluoride, you are helping to prevent cavities and tooth decay. It is one of the easiest ways to use water to benefit your oral health!

Water Cleans Your Mouth

Sipping on water throughout the day is one of the most effective ways to keep your mouth clean. Although drinks like soda and juice may leave your teeth feeling clean, the reality is sugar particles are left behind. Naturally occurring bacteria in your mouth break down these sugar particles and produce acids that soften the hard tissues of your teeth. Other chemicals found in sugary drinks, such as phosphoric, citrus, or malic acids, can also eat away at your teeth’s enamel, thus increasing the risk of tooth decay and cavities. 

Like saliva, water cleans your teeth and helps to wash away food debris, unwanted sugar, and acid produced by bacteria in your mouth. Nothing replaces a consistent brushing routine when it comes to clean teeth but sipping on water is a great addition to your oral health routine!

Supports Saliva Production

Saliva, or the clear liquid that is formed in your mouth, is incredibly important to your oral health because it plays many roles when it comes to the health of your mouth. It helps start the digestion process by lubricating food, helps wash away food debris, and can slow the growth of unwanted bacteria, to name a few.

When there is not enough saliva being produced, it can lead to xerostomia, more commonly known as dry mouth. Dry mouth is a serious oral health condition that can cause the tongue, gums, and other tissues to become painful and swollen. It also increases the risk of tooth decay and gum disease

One of the best ways to prevent dry mouth is to sip on water throughout the day. Glands in your mouth need enough fluid in the body to make saliva. Staying hydrated is one of the easiest ways to increase saliva production and benefit your oral health.