How Drinking Water With Meals Helps To Prevent Tooth Decay

Most people know that drinking water is good for their health. When you keep yourself hydrated by drinking water, your organs function more efficiently, you have better protection from infections and your joints stay well lubricated. Drinking water also helps to protect your teeth from their worst enemy — tooth decay.

Drinking water during meals is especially effective at keeping tooth decay at bay.

Water washes away bacteria and food debris

During meals, when you are chewing food, your salivary glands produce copious amounts of saliva. This saliva aids with digestion, which starts in the mouth, and helps to wash away bacteria and food debris. You can strengthen your defences against bacteria and food debris by drinking water between mouthfuls of food.

Washing away food debris and bacteria is an important defence against tooth decay. This is because bad strains of bacteria feed on the pieces of food left in your mouth and on your teeth. They then create acid that damages tooth enamel. The combined flushing effects of your saliva and mouthfuls of water will prevent food from accumulating in your mouth, thus reducing the food supply for bacteria.

Remember to drink water after your meals too to flush away any remaining food debris and lingering bacteria.

Water neutralizes acids

Some of the foods and drinks that you consume daily might contain acid. For instance, some soft drinks contain citric acid which can damage tooth enamel. Even ketchup contains citric acid. If you eat enough of an acid-rich food at one time, the pH of your saliva may fall below 5.5, and become acidic. This means that even your own saliva will damage your teeth if it becomes acidic enough.

Make a habit of choosing less acidic foods and consuming a glass of water while eating food, especially if you know that food contains acids like citric acid. Water helps to neutralize acids by restoring the natural pH of your saliva. This will decrease your chances of suffering tooth decay.

Water keeps you hydrated

Staying hydrated is important for many bodily functions, such as running your organs and strengthening your immune system. Water is also very important to your oral health. If you don't drink enough water, you produce less saliva, leading to dry mouth. A dry mouth is a perfect environment for bad bacteria.

Drink water if you are eating foods that make your mouth dry, like biscuits, crackers, toast and foods that have a high salt content. Saliva contains enzymes that can combat oral bacteria. But if your mouth dries out, you produce less saliva, which weakens your natural defence against oral bacteria. Drink water during meals (especially salty meals) to prevent dry mouth.

For more information, visit a local dentist.