Our Bodies Are Mostly Water and Hydration Is Vital to Both Oral and Overall Health
Water and proper hydration play a significant role in fighting periodontal disease and in maintaining great oral health.
While we all know that an adequate daily intake of water is an essential component of overall wellness it may come as a surprise that hydration is also quite important in promoting vibrant oral health.
The underlying reason is that saliva plays a critical role in combating the negative effects of bacterial growth in our mouth. For example:
- Saliva helps to balance the pH level and this counteracts the bacterial acids that erode your teeth and are the prime cause of tooth decay
- Adequate saliva flow is also a key part of handing chronic bad breath (halitosis). Inadequate saliva in turn contributes to bacterial growth, particularly in the back of the tongue, and this then leads to truly bad breath
While there are medical reasons behind chronic dry mouth (technically called Xerostomia), such as nerve damage, cancers and/or drug side effects, it is certainly true that getting adequate hydration is a simple and helpful step that you can easily do yourself.
Simple takeaway–drink adequate amounts of water and where possible avoid tobacco, alcohol and non-vital medicines or chemical products.
An additional and equally simple use of water to boost oral health is the “easy-peasy” swish and rinse after eating (or drinking).
The foods and sugars that remain in your mouth are the source of energy and life for bacteria. By simply swishing and rinsing your mouth after eating/drinking you can clear out much of the residue and lower the food supply for these bacteria. Less food=less growth=healthier mouth!
You can even swish and then swallow (politely of course) as the main objective is to just rinse away what you can.
And while certainly not a replacement for twice-a-day brushing and once-a-day flossing, it makes sense to “clear the decks” after consuming anything that bacteria can feed upon.