Why Water is the Best Beverage for Your Teeth

By Catherine M. Fascilla, D.D.S.

Whether you consider your glass half- full or half -empty is not as important as whether or not it contains water. Fortunately these days, many are realizing how important it is to remain well hydrated and it is very common to see people carrying water bottles. Every cell, tissue and organ in your body needs water to function properly. Your body needs water to regulate temperature, distribute healthy nutrients, remove waste, lubricate joints, and to keep your muscles working and your brain functioning. In addition, the oral cavity needs to be well hydrated and water is the best beverage for that.

Water is the main component of saliva. Saliva is your mouth’s first defense against tooth decay and it is 99 % water. It’s job is to protect tooth structure and lubricate the mouth to facilitate speaking and swallowing.

Drinking fluoridated water is one of the easiest things you can do to prevent cavities because fluoride strengthens teeth. While there is very little fluoride naturally found in our Long Island water supplies, drinking water strengthens your teeth in other ways. It keeps your mouth clean.

Juice, soda and sports drinks leave a film of sugar on your dentition. Cavity-causing bacteria thrive on the sugar and create acid that weakens the protective enamel layer of your teeth. Many of these beverages also contain acids like phosphoric, citric or malic acid, that have been added to make them taste less sweet. Those acids also weaken the enamel. Drinking water washes away left over food and sugar residue and dilutes acids produced by bacteria in your mouth.

Sweetened drinks are high in sugar and calories. Drinking them puts you at risk for not only tooth decay but also weight gain and diabetes. Drinking water helps you lose weight. It seems to be a no brainer. We need to be well hydrated and our options are many. Water is the only beverage that is sugar-free and acid-free. It won’t stain your teeth. It protects enamel, helps you lose weight, reduces the risk of diabetes and is the most economical beverage there is. It has my vote!

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