The oral health benefits of drinking water.
You’ve likely heard it before, but it bears reiterating that your child benefits from drinking plenty of water—no matter the season. Hydration plays a key role in many aspects of health, from ensuring healthy development to preventing a variety of issues.
And when it comes to oral health, providing ready access to cool, clean water can help improve four important areas.
1. Hydration promotes saliva production.
Saliva production is essential to good oral health. Having low saliva production is often called dry mouth, due to the noticeably dry feeling. This issue can arise due to several factors, including mouth breathing and sleep apnea. However, dehydration also limits saliva production, as saliva is almost entirely water.
No matter what we eat, tiny bits of food get left behind. Certain sticky or crumbly foods are worse culprits than others. The steady production of saliva helps wash away these remnants.
This is important because the bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease rely on that food to grow and multiply. As the bacteria metabolize food, they secrete acid that weakens and wears away enamel, eventually leading to cavities.
Alongside removing left behind food, saliva also has natural antibacterial properties. There are always bacteria in everyone’s mouths, but they can lead to tooth decay and gum disease when their levels get out of control. Saliva is one way your child’s body deals with this naturally, although oral hygiene and dentist visits are still essential.
2. Water is a natural cleanser.
Staying hydrated is vital for protecting your child’s oral health, but that isn’t the only way that water helps. The act of drinking water provides benefits in itself. When your child drinks water, it helps clean the mouth to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. This is why drinking water with and after meals and snacks is highly recommended.
Water also helps wash away the acid residue from bacteria, which slowly eats away at the enamel. Bacteria steadily produce acid, so drinking a bit of water at frequent intervals throughout the day helps to keep levels low. Water can also help prevent plaque from taking hold, washing away new deposits before they form and harden.
3. Other Drinks Can Harm Teeth
When it comes to staying hydrated, water is the clear choice. While other drinks can provide hydration, they also come with a range of negative impacts. Drinks like soda and even juice are acidic, which means they can erode enamel just like the acid from bacteria can. Drinking them frequently can seriously harm your child’s teeth.
Many drinks are also loaded with sugar. This provides a convenient food source for bacteria, accelerating tooth decay.
If your child is drinking these beverages constantly throughout the day, they create a steady supply of energy for bacteria to grow and multiply. Sipping away at anything other than water can cause a significant risk of tooth decay.
Other drinks can be acceptable to choose occasionally, but only if they’re consumed in a short period of time. You might consider adding water to dilute these drinks, making them less harmful for your child. Drinking water after any other beverage will also help wash away acidic residue and sugar.
4. Water supports overall health and well-being.
Maintaining proper hydration has a wide range of general health benefits, many of which promote overall well-being that also contributes to a healthy smile. Hydration helps your body prevent infections, which can stop gum disease from taking hold.
Additionally, hydration plays a key role in distributing nutrients throughout the body. It promotes strong cardiovascular health, which allows nutrients to disperse to each area of the body through blood.
Proper hydration also helps improve nutrient distribution at the cellular level. This means that your gums and teeth will take up essential nutrients more easily.
The overall health benefits of hydration help limit inflammation as well, which is one of the key causes of soreness and pain around the teeth, gums, and jaw. Limiting swelling related to inflammation can help mitigate the impact of bacteria on your gums, along with preventing that inflammation from affecting surrounding tissues in the mouth.
Get the guidance you need from your dentist in Waldorf, MD.
Parents often think of hydration as key in hot summer months. But ensuring your child is properly hydrated is vital at any time of the year to protect their oral health.
Your dentist can offer the best guidance and tips for keeping your child’s smile healthy. We Make Kids Smile is your trusted dentist in Waldorf and Prince Frederick, Maryland, for warm, sincere care in a fun and child-friendly environment. Schedule an appointment with us today.