Three Ways Drinking More Water Helps Fight Cavities

"Drink more water!" You've probably heard this advice from multiple health care practitioners, and you've likely read it in a number of health articles, too. Drinking more water can surely help you lose weight and improve your skin, but there's another less-discussed benefit: healthier teeth. Here are three ways that drinking more water throughout the day can help fight cavities and other oral health issues.

It exposes your teeth to fluoride.

Fluoride is a natural mineral that helps keep your teeth hard and cavity-free. Specifically, it helps lay down calcium in your tooth enamel, increasing its resistance to the acids secreted by oral bacteria. Fluoride is found in most municipal tap water supplies, and you can contact your local water department to confirm that it's found in yours. If you're a bottled water drinker, make sure the brand you buy contains fluoride, as not all do. As you drink, take the time to let water swirl over your teeth, as this increases their exposure to fluoride. (It's important not only to ingest the fluoride, but also to have it come into direct contact with your teeth.)

It rinses away oral bacteria.

As previously mentioned, the bacteria that take up residence in your mouth secrete acids as they feed on sugars. It's these acids, not the sugars themselves, that lead to cavities and tooth decay. When you sip water slowly throughout the day, you rinse these oral bacteria and the acids they secrete away, rather than allowing them to linger on your teeth for too long. Oral bacteria also cause gum disease, so keeping them at bay will decrease your risk of gingivitis and its symptoms -- which include sensitive gums and bleeding after brushing.

It increases your saliva production.

When you're not sipping water, saliva keeps your mouth moist. A dry mouth is more appealing to oral bacteria, so adequate saliva production helps keep them at bay. You need to be hydrated in order to produce enough saliva, so keep your water intake up!

So, how do you know if you're drinking enough water  throughout the day? Consider your urine. If it's any darker than a pale, lemon yellow, you need to drink more. Clear urine is even better! Be sure to spread your water intake out throughout the day, as this is better for the health of your teeth. Swish the water around to bring it into contact with your teeth, and talk to a dentist at a dental office like Crest Hill Family Dental if you have any concerns.