During these hot summer months, staying properly hydrated is extremely important. After all, the human body is approximately 60% water and needs to have enough water for a variety of functions. For this reason, it is recommended to drink at least eight 8 oz glasses of water daily. This is especially important if you are actively sweating due to the heat. Even losing as little as 2% of your body’s water content can decrease physical performance, impair brain function, and even trigger headaches and migraines.
In addition to these various effects that dehydration can have on your body, not drinking enough water can also affect your oral health and dental implants. Although you can stay hydrated by drinking other beverages, both your oral and overall health benefit more by drinking water. In fact, some common beverages can actually be detrimental to your oral health.
Soft drinks, in particular, can do more harm than good when it comes to your oral health. While they may be able to keep you hydrated, regularly consuming soft drinks has been associated with type-2 diabetes and obesity. Additionally, they have also been associated with drastically increasing the risk of tooth decay. Although dental implants are not susceptible to tooth decay, any remaining natural teeth you have can become decayed by drinking too many soft drinks.
The reason why soft drinks are so bad for your oral health is because they contain large amounts of sugar. Decay-causing bacteria feed primarily on sugar, which increases their populations. Not only that, but decay-causing bacteria ultimately convert sugar into an acidic waste product that is deposited onto the enamel, eventually leading to cavities. Not only that, but the amount of bacteria in the mouth increases, which can also cause gum disease. Even if you have no remaining natural teeth, gum disease can be detrimental to your dental implants.
In addition to large amounts of sugars, many soft drinks also contain harmful acids. Sodas generally contain one or more of the following acids: tartaric, phosphoric, or citric acids. Even other soft drinks, like juices or teas, can include acids. Unfortunately, the acids found in soft drinks make it easier for the bacteria to damage your enamel since the extra acid continues to weaken the enamel. Even sugar-free soft drinks can still be detrimental to your oral health because they still contain varying amounts of acids.
For these reasons, it is strongly recommended to limit the amount of soft drinks you consume on a daily basis. Instead, it is recommended to drink more water in place of soft drinks. This is because not only is water safe for your teeth, but it offers many benefits to your oral health. These benefits include:
Keeping the Mouth Clean
Unlike soft drinks which leave a coating of sugar on the surface of your teeth, water actually cleans your mouth. Drinking water actually helps to wash away leftover food particles and residue from the surface of your teeth. Drinking water after a meal or snack is especially beneficial because it prevents bacteria from being able to feed on these leftover food particles and/or sugar deposits. In addition to removing food particles and deposits, water also helps to neutralize damaging acids produced by bacteria. This helps to reduce the amount of damage bacteria can do to your enamel. Even if you have no natural teeth, water still helps to decrease the total amount of bacteria in your mouth in order to prevent gum disease and keep your implants healthy.
Strengthens the Teeth
In cases where you still have natural teeth, drinking water also helps to strengthen your natural teeth and decreases the risk of tooth decay. This is because most drinking water is fluoridated. Fluoride helps to harden the tooth enamel and repairs minor damage done by bacteria. Several studies have shown that fluoride significantly minimizes the risk of tooth decay.
Prevents Dry Mouth
Dry mouth occurs when the mouth is unable to produce enough saliva. It can occur due to age, medical conditions, and certain medications. Unfortunately dry mouth poses a threat to your oral health since saliva is the mouth’s way of cleaning itself. People with dry mouth are more likely to have higher amounts of bacteria in their mouth, which can result in bad breath, tooth decay, and gum disease. Drinking water helps to prevent dry mouth, as well as the problems caused by dry mouth. This is because saliva is primarily composed of water, so drinking more water helps the body to produce more saliva.
Tips for Drinking More Water
- Carry a water bottle with you everywhere you go. This way you are more likely to actually drink water when you are thirsty instead of drinking something else.
- Monitor how much water you drink on a daily basis and then set goals throughout the day to increase or maintain your water intake.
- Work on sipping water gradually throughout the day instead of gulping down large amounts all at once. Not only is water better absorbed when taken in slowly, but sipping water prevents you from feeling bloated.
- Try drinking water before and after every meal. This helps you to reach your total daily water intake. Drinking water before a meal helps to decrease the amount of food you eat, while drinking water after a meal helps to clean your mouth and rinse away food particles.
Irfan Atcha, DDS, DICOI, DADIA at New Teeth Chicago Dental in Chicago, Illinois is a board-certified general dentist and a nationally recognized expert in dental implants, cosmetic dentistry, and sedation dentistry. Dr. Atcha is now serving patients in Naples, Bonita Springs and SW FL area with All-on-4 implants, teeth-in-a-day, same day dental implants and the complex zygomatic dental implants for the no-jaw bone solution approach. To schedule a consultation please email Dr. Atcha at email@example.com.