It’s hot…you’re thirsty. What is your go-to summer drink on days like these? Is water your drink of choice, or do you prefer some other cool beverage? Water has many benefits for your body, but you likely are not aware of just how good water is for your teeth. We have summarized several online American Dental Association (ADA) Mouth Healthy articles that point to the superior benefits of water for your oral health.
Benefits of Water for Your Teeth:
Cleans teeth and dilutes acids:
Cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth love to eat sugar and produce acid that wears away at enamel, or the outer shell of your teeth, says the ADA Mouth Healthy article, “4 Reasons Water Is the Best Beverage for Your Teeth.” The article explains that water washes away leftover food and residue that cavity-causing bacteria look for. It adds that water also dilutes the acids produced by the bacteria in your mouth. And while you still need to brush twice a day for two minutes and clean between your teeth daily, drinking water can help you stay cavity-free.
Increases Cavity-Fighting Saliva:
Water also increases your saliva flow, explains the above ADA article. In fact, saliva is your mouth’s first defense against tooth decay. It washes away leftover food, helps you swallow with ease, and keeps your teeth strong by washing them with calcium, phosphate and fluoride.
Fights Cavities When Fluoridated:
But not all water is equal, says this same article. You want to drink water that is fluoridated, as fluoride has been termed, “nature’s cavity fighter.” It can actually help protect you from getting cavities. But you cannot assume that the water you drink is fluoridated. Another ADA Mouth Healthy article, “Bottled Water,” explains that many bottled waters do not contain fluoride. To find out if your brand of bottled water is fluoridated, this article suggests that you either look to see if fluoride is listed on the bottle’s label, or you contact the company to find out if that brand contains fluoride. It adds that some water filters also remove fluoride from tap water. For this reason, it is advised to visit the ADA Seal page for a list of water filters that do not remove fluoride from tap water.
While sparkling water is obviously water, it includes carbonation, and any drink with carbonation has a higher acid level, explains another ADA Mouth Healthy article, “Is Sparkling Water Bad for My Teeth?” That said, this article claims that available research shows sparkling water is generally fine for your teeth, though nothing can replace fluoridated water. It is also important to consider, says this same article, that citrus-flavored carbonated waters often contain higher acid levels. For this reason, you want to avoid sipping them throughout the day in order to decrease the extent to which you expose your teeth to acid. Lastly, the article reminds us that sweetened sparkling waters will increase your risk for cavities.
Drinking juice, soda, sports drinks and lemonade can all leave unwanted sugar and acid behind on your teeth, says the ADA Mouth Healthy article, “4 Reasons Water Is the Best Beverage for Your Teeth.” Many of these drinks also contain added acids (phosphoric, citrus or malic acid) to make them taste less sweet, but those acids can erode away enamel, adds this same article. And don’t be fooled to think that all sports drinks are healthy, states the ADA Mouth Healthy article, “Summer Teeth Quiz.” This article explains that many sports drinks contain sugar as their top ingredient. It advises that if you do drink them, check the label to make sure they are low in sugar.
We at Boulevard Dental Associates get that we all enjoy a flavored summer beverage from time to time. That said, water has wonderful benefits for your oral health. So the next time you crave a summer thirst-quencher, go first for a nice cold glass of water. You will quench your thirst and protect your teeth all at the same time!
ADA. Bottled Water. Mouth Healthy. https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/b/bottled-water. Accessed June 9, 2021.
ADA. Is Sparkling Water Bad for My Teeth? Mouth Healthy.
https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/nutrition/food-tips/the-truth-about-sparkling-water-and-your-teeth. Accessed June 9, 2021.
ADA. 4 Reasons Water Is the Best Beverage for Your Teeth. Mouth Healthy. https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/nutrition/food-tips/water-best-beverage?utm_source=mouthhealthyorg&utm_medium=mhtopstories&utm_content=water. Accessed June 9, 2021.
ADA. Summer Teeth Quiz. Mouth Healthy. https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/summer-quiz?utm_source=mouthhealthyorg&utm_medium=mhtopstories&utm_content=summer-quiz. Accessed June 9, 2021.