We all know how crucial brushing and flossing are, but drinking water should also be part of our daily dental routine.
A consistent intake of water is essential for a healthy set of gnashers and gums. But how, exactly, does H₂O help? Here’s the lowdown on the very close relationship between drinking water and our dental health.
How does drinking water help oral health?
You’ll cut down on sugar — and therefore tooth decay
Drinking water is great for your teeth and gums. This is because in doing so, you’ll be indirectly minimising the amount of sugar-laden drinks you’re consuming — such as fizzy drinks and alcoholic beverages.
It’s well documented that sugary drinks lead to tooth decay by providing food for cavity-causing bacteria. The acids found in many of these drinks — phosphoric and citric — can also lead to a breakdown of your tooth enamel.
Certain sugary foods and drinks can affect our mouth’s natural pH level, leading to bacteria growth and tooth decay. Drinking water helps to wash acidic liquids away, ultimately strengthening our teeth.
By making tap water consumption a habit throughout the day, you’ll be minimising your risk of tooth decay by eliminating the temptation to reach for the pop. With no sugar, and no hidden added extras, water is by far the best and safest choice for your oral health.
Drinking water cleans your teeth throughout the day
Did you know that water acts as a mouth cleanser throughout the day? Alongside brushing and regular flossing, drinking water should be seen as a vital part of your dental routine.
A steady intake of water flushes residue away from your teeth and gums, minimising the chances of plaque building up. A glass of water after a meal works by rinsing the acid that builds up as a result of consuming some foods, as well as rinsing out two major culprits for cavities — sugar and bacteria.
Water hydrates your gums — and prevents tooth loss
Your teeth and gums are intimately connected. By ensuring a consistent intake of water, your gums will be more hydrated, cleansed of plaque and less susceptible to gum disease (gingivitis).
If gum disease progresses, you can develop recessed gums and periodontitis. This is a weakening of the structures that hold your teeth in place, potentially causing tooth loss — with all the resulting physical and psychological complications.
Drinking water boosts your natural defences to tooth damage
Drinking water helps to strengthen your teeth and gums by encouraging saliva production.
When you don’t drink sufficient water, you become dehydrated and produce less saliva. Saliva plays a huge role in our dental health and is responsible for cleaning away food residue. Support your body’s saliva production by keeping your fluids up!
Water and tooth health: Other considerations
Not all water is created equal. Some water is bottled, some carbonated, some sugar-sweetened, and some can even have an element of contamination. What are the implications of this for our teeth?
Carbonated water and your teeth
With no sugar, carbonated water is a far better choice for your teeth than fizzy drinks. That said, it does have an element of acidity to it. Carbonic acid is added as part of the production of carbonated water; this can weaken our enamel, making our teeth more sensitive to decay.
For optimal tooth health, a glass of regular filtered tap water will do the trick.
Your dental health: Tap or bottled water?
If you’re making the move away from fizzy drinks for the betterment of your oral health, tap water should take priority over bottled water. Some types of bottled water can come with added flavourings, sweeteners and sugars which can contribute towards a multitude of tooth problems.
There’s also a secondary health consideration: microplastic contamination. In a recent study, 93% of bottled tap water samples were found to contain microplastics — very small, often microplastic fragments of plastic. It is thought to be a result of the industrial processes involved in bottling the water.
Whilst the verdict is still out on the exact health impact of microplastics in drinking water, take no chances by choosing a refreshing glass of filtered water from the tap.
That’s not to mention environmental concerns with bottled water; the plastic bottle is one of the most littered items in the world — we’ve written in more detail about our problem with single-use plastics. By choosing tap water, you’ll be doing your part for the environment as well as your oral health. Win, win!
Can tap water contaminants harm our teeth?
Our tap water supplies contain a range of common contaminants, the most abundant being chlorine, an antimicrobial agent. As you may know, this can affect the scent and taste of your tap water. Water with a very high chlorine level can have a lower pH level and potentially cause enamel erosion — although this is very unlikely to be a problem in the UK.
In the past, many of our tap water supplies were artificially fluoridated, a measure intended to improve tooth health. However, no such fluoridation schemes have been approved for over 20 years in the UK. This is due to concerns over skeletal fluorosis — discolouration and damage to teeth and bones.
A water filtration system in your home will reduce the amount of chlorine and other contaminants in the water that comes out of your tap. This will improve the taste and smell of your water, whilst also giving peace of mind about the effects of any common contaminants on your teeth.
Can drinking water make your teeth whiter?
There are a number of drinks that are major offenders when it comes to staining our teeth — cola, red wine, coffee, tea and fruit juices to name but a few. Water is not one of them. By choosing a glass of water, you’ll be indirectly cutting down on the consumption of tooth-staining drinks, doing the whiteness of your teeth a big favour.
Invest in your tooth health.
Choosing healthy liquids such as water is an essential component for the wellbeing of our bodies, particularly our dental health. In the UK, we’re advised to drink 6–8 glasses per day — so why not make your tap water the very best it can be?
At Doulton®, we’ve been providing families with cutting-edge water filtration solutions for over a hundred years. Our range of ceramic filtration products are suitable for the home — such as the Royal Doulton ELITE® — or on the go, as with our TASTE portable filter bottle.
The ceramic filters remove a range of common contaminants, leaving you with drinking water that tastes, smells and looks incredible. To boost your dental health, choose the best water there can be.
Discover the Doulton difference by exploring our full range of water filtration products.