How Simple Hydration Can Protect Your Teeth
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For all living things, water is one of the most essential and valuable elements on the planet. Its goodness can be harnessed for all kinds of benefits during your daily routine. One of the lesser-known ones involves protecting your teeth.
While there is never a better way to protect your teeth than going to your dentist for routine check-ups and treatments, at-home care (including proper oral hygiene with twice-daily brushing and flossing) and dietary adjustments — like upping that water intake — can help.
Tips for Caring for Your Teeth
Aside from regular dental cleanings with Dr. Fiss, there are many small daily steps you can take at home to help keep your teeth healthy and strong for a lifetime. These include avoiding sugary drinks and foods that can erode the enamel that protects the integrity of tooth enamel, brushing two times a day, and drinking lots of water.
The old eight glasses of water a day adage is an acceptable guideline for overall health, but some people might need more or less. And water can also be used for regular mouth rinsing on top of daily intake.
Three Ways Water Can Help With Dental Care
1. Extra Level of Cleaning
Drinking water helps keep your mouth clean. It contains no sugar or acids and — like saliva — washes potentially destructive sugars and acids off the teeth.
Rinsing your mouth after eating or drinking anything acidic — such as citrus fruit, yogurt, or wine — is also helpful.
2. Keeps Dry Mouth at Bay
Drinking water prevents dry mouth, which, over time, can lead to plaque build-up and tooth decay. With xerostomia (the technical term for dry mouth), bacteria can build up in the absence of the minerals and cleansing properties of saliva production.
Many people who are on medications (prescription and over-the-counter) or have had cancer treatments (chemotherapy or radiation) experience dry mouth as these medications and treatments decrease saliva quality and quantity.
Saliva is 99 percent water, and when your body isn’t producing enough of it (for any reason), you need to supplement it with additional hydration. Additionally, saliva contains necessary proteins and enzymes that help protect against tooth decay and help with digestion.
Sipping water throughout the day can sometimes help with dry mouth; however, if the problem persists, you should consult with your dentist as an additional treatment course may be necessary.
Dry mouth is a side effect of hundreds of common medications, and you may be experiencing it without even knowing it. Common side effects of dry mouth include dryness or a sticky feeling in the mouth, chapped lips, and bad breath.
What Is the Link Between Dry Mouth and Bad Breath?
Bad breath (halitosis) is a common side effect of dry mouth. While many people incorrectly assume that bad breath is a temporary issue that is caused by eating pungent foods (like garlic or onions), it is often a chronic condition and, for some, caused by dry mouth.
Because dry mouth is caused by the reduced production of saliva (which helps to cleanse your mouth of bad odors), some odors stay in your mouth, causing bad breath. This can be the result of medication use (some medications even contribute to bad breath further by releasing odorous chemicals that are carried into the mouth).
3. Helps Protect Tooth Enamel
Enamel is the outer (protective covering of the tooth). While this is one of the hardest substances on earth, it can be weakened or lost due to poor dental health. Your enamel is naturally made up of a high percentage of minerals (95 percent) that allow for tooth strength and give your teeth it’s white, bright appearance.
Drinking water with fluoride (which also contains these minerals) helps protect your tooth enamel by remineralizing the hard surface.
Interested in Scheduling an Appointment With Dr. Fiss?
If you are in the Chicago, Illinois, area and want to know more about options for everyday dental care, give the friendly team at Benjamin S. Fiss a call. They can answer all your questions about cosmetic and maintenance dental treatments and book you in for a consultation. Call (312) 951-5230 today or use the online contact form to schedule an appointment.