When it comes to oral health and cleanliness, water is essential. It’s the primary component of saliva and is very important to both tooth and gum health.
Fluoride is a substance that is naturally found in water. As children, fluoride combats tooth decay by both incorporating into the structure of developing teeth when consumed. For people of all ages, water protects the surface of our teeth by weakening acids and washing away other harmful bits and pieces left from food sources in our mouths.
While fluoride in our water supply is considered the most effective public health initiative to help prevent tooth decay, many people have transitioned to drinking mainly bottled water. In a 2002 Bottled Water Policy adopted by the American Dental Association (ADA) and the House of Delegates, the ADA was urged to inform its members of the fluoride levels in bottled water versus tap water. According the ADA the majority of bottled waters on the market do not contain 0.7-1.2 milligrams per liter levels of fluoride, which is considered optimal. Most bottled waters contain around 0.3 mg per liter of fluoride. Since bottled water companies are required to list the fluoride contents on their labels, it might be worth your while to read the label to see if your bottled water of choice is contributing to your fluoride intake and ultimately a healthier mouth.
Water’s many benefits for oral health also include its direct contribution to protecting the pH levels in your mouth. People with acidic saliva (generally caused by smoking, high sugar diets and acidic foods like oranges, grapefruit, tomatoes and carbonated beverages), tend to experience dental problems because their own saliva damages teeth. Cavities, broken fillings, gum recession and sensitivity can be tied to highly acidic pH levels in the mouth. With the regular consumption of water and monitoring the diet, saliva pH levels can be neutralized for maximum benefits.
Good oral health involves more than just a clean water supply. Diets that are low in sugar are also important contributions we can make to keep our mouths healthy. The next time you think of selecting a beverage of choice, consider water as your ideal “go to” choice. To learn more about dental health tips or schedule an appointment, please visit our website for more information.