It’s hard to believe Christmas is already around the corner, while most of us have leftover Halloween candy hidden in our kitchen cabinets! As much as we love our sweets, they are handed copious amounts of sugar-laden treats with very detrimental effects on our teeth. But did you know that being dehydrated puts your dental health at even a bigger risk? In this article, we explore why being hydrated is especially important between Halloween and the end-of-year holiday season, especially for the health of our teeth.
Drinking water is one of the easiest and most beneficial things you can do to help prevent cavities
Water is unlike any other drink, and is by far the healthiest drink available. Yet, unfortunately, studies show that we are an under-hydrated society with upwards of 40% being in a state of chronic dehydration. Children, just like adults, are also not getting enough water and what’s worse is that kids, especially, are now choosing sugary drinks like juice and soda pop over water like we’ve never seen before. You can see how this can negatively impact our bodies, which are made of 60% water but this also affects your mouth and dental health. There exists in the oral cavity a “microbiome” – a collection of living organisms, bacteria and other entities that can either help or harm your health. When we eat sugar, this feeds the “bad” constituents of the microbiome, leading to increases in tooth decay and other dental diseases such as gingivitis. Being dehydrated can also lead to “dry mouth” which can further spur on cavity formation and negative alterations in oral health. Staying hydrated helps to keep the oral microbiome balance in check with the amount of good guys to bad guys and also flushes out the sugars that when left to “sit” on teeth, eat away at them. How’s that for a Halloween scare! Drinking water really helps your teeth stay healthy, especially electrolyzed water.
Top 3 reasons why drinking more water improves oral health
Drinking water with naturally occurring minerals, like calcium and fluoride, is one of the easiest and most beneficial things you can do to help prevent cavities. Specifically, fluoride, consumed in the right amount, can actually strengthen your teeth. Local tap water is typically rich in both calcium and fluoride. While there is some controversy about fluoridation, water fluoridation is endorsed by the CDC, American Medical Association and the American Dental Association which lists it as one of the top 10 most important public health measures of the 20th century.
Washes away the bad stuff – like Halloween candy!
Water is a great mouth cleanser because it naturally washes away food and sugars that cavity-causing bacteria love to feed upon. Foods high in sugars are especially great promoters of the bad bacteria that cause cavities and an acidic environment that cause erosion of your tooth enamel – outer shell of your teeth. Water also washes away acids produced by the bacteria in your mouth. When we choose juice, soda pop or sports drinks instead of water, the beneficial effects are lost or at best blunted, putting our oral health at risk for disease.
Avoid dry mouth, a common sign of dehydration
When our mouth is dry, it is a good sign from our body to get some extra hydration, best in the form of water. Why water? Saliva is 99% water, so it makes sense that if we are low on hydration, that our mouths would be dry too. When our mouths are dry and saliva is low, this negatively affects oral health. This is because saliva is our mouth’s first defense against tooth decay. It also makes it hard to swallow and chew food because saliva helps to dilute and digest our food. It washes away leftover food and sugars. The American Dental Association recognizes that dry mouth puts us at risk for tooth decay. By drinking enough water, you help prevent dry mouth and ensure that your saliva is produced in an optimal amount. Also, it is important to discuss with your doctor and dentist if you are taking medication that causes dry mouth, putting you at increased risk for dental issues. You may need to better tailor your water intake because of this known side effect of some drugs.
Keep your water game strong all year!
After your trick-or-treating is over and your candy bag is stocked with all kinds of sugary treats, please keep in mind the importance of hydration. Drinking water is simple and it’s an effective strategy to keep away the cavities and maintain good oral health. It’s important for this season of treats as well as a good strategy for maintaining so many other important facets of overall good health. Rising consumption in sugary beverages is a contributing factor to the increasing rate of obesity in the United States. In fact, people who consume 1 – 2 sugary beverages per day are 26% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. So, now is an even better time to optimize your water game! Water doesn’t have any calories, and it contains no sugar, which makes it incredibly healthy and a great choice, especially after you indulge your Halloween treats!
The Onset of Dental Erosion Caused by Food and Drinks and the Preventive Effect of Alkaline Ionized Water – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8537624/
- Department of Dental Hygiene, Silla University, 140 Baegyang-daero, 700 beon-gil, Sasang-gu, Busan 46958, Korea; firstname.lastname@example.org; Tel.: +82-10-6686-8130
- Kim, Y.-R. Analysis of the Effect of Daily Water Intake on Oral Health: Result from Seven Waves of a Population-Based Panel Study. Water 2021, 13, 2716. https://doi.org/ 10.3390/w13192716