Does Drinking Water Benefit Oral Health?
Everyone knows that it’s important to drink plenty of water every day to keep our bodies well hydrated. In fact, this small step of drinking enough water can greatly benefit overall health. Proper hydration is important to help organs function properly, help fight off infections, and may even assist with weight loss. However, your dentist in Douglasville wants to share a few more reasons why you should choose water — and plenty of it.
Believe it or not, drinking water and keeping your mouth properly hydrated is one of the best ways to combat bad breath. Bad breath can often be a side effect of dry mouth, an oral health problem whose name describes it perfectly. Dry mouth may be caused by certain medications, mouth breathing, or simply not drinking enough water. While dry mouth may seem like no big deal, it’s especially concerning for your dentist in Douglasville, You see, our mouths need water to produce saliva, but when we’re dehydrated and experiencing dry mouth, saliva production slows or stops completely. That’s when problems arise. Without saliva, there is nothing to help rinse away leftover food particles or mouth bacteria that can contribute to bad breath.
When we choose to drink water over sugary beverages such as soda, juice, or sports drinks, we’re not only hydrating our bodies, we’re also helping our mouths stay clean in between brushings. Drinking water, especially when we’re eating, helps to rinse away food particles before they have a chance to linger around and attract bacteria. If not, bacteria will feed on the food particles and release a dangerous acidic byproduct. This acid will attack tooth enamel and leave teeth at increased risk for decay and cavities. Additionally, water is the ideal beverage of choice because it doesn’t contain any sugars. Other sugary drinks may seem to quench our thirst, but the sugars only continue to feed bacteria as opposed to removing their food source.
Whether you drink bottled water or water from the tap, H2O is always the preferred choice for your dentist in Douglasville. However, while bottled water may provide all of the benefits of hydration, it may be missing one key ingredient that you can typically get from tap water — fluoride. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that helps rebuild and remineralize tooth enamel. The process of remineralization strengthens the enamel, making it super strong and super protective against bacteria, acids, and plaque.
Overall Healthier You
Water is one of the most important things that we can give our bodies, yet an estimated 75% of adult Americans don’t drink enough water daily. Consequently, this can lead to negative overall and oral health effects. We need to reverse this habit in order to fuel and protect our bodies. But where do you start? A good rule of thumb to follow is to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day, more if you exercise or sweat, and more especially during these summer months.
Why Men Are at Increased Risk for Oral Health Problems
Every June is recognized as Men’s Health Month and strives to bring awareness to just how important it is for men to keep up with doctor appointments, physicals, and routine procedures based on age. It’s also a time for your dentist in Douglasville to encourage all men to seek regular dental care. After all, men are less likely than women to see the dentist regularly as well as keep up with routine doctor visits, both of which can protect their overall health and wellbeing.
Prevention is Key
Your dentist in Douglasville knows just how important it is to get a dental checkup at least every six months. These visits are crucial to monitoring oral health as well as giving each and every patient a professional cleaning that helps remove stuff from your teeth and gums that you simply can’t touch at home. However, according to the Academy of General Dentistry, men are less likely to schedule and complete these preventive appointments and instead only see the dentist when they’re experiencing a problem. For this reason alone, men are at increased risk for oral health problems, some of which can be pretty serious and include:
- Gum Disease. Gum disease is a serious infection that occurs in the gum tissue of the mouth. If not treated quickly and effectively, it can lead to tooth loss and a whole host of other whole-body problems. In fact, numerous studies have shown a connection between gum disease and the increased risk of heart disease, certain cancers, respiratory problems, and poor prostate health in men. Additionally, men are at greater risk of developing gum disease than women. According to The American Dental Association, around 34% of men ages 30-54 have gum disease as compared to 23% of women in the same age range.
- Oral Cancer. Another serious oral health condition that tends to affect men more than women is oral cancer. Oral cancer can occur in any of the soft tissues in the mouth, including lips, tongue, and cheeks, as well as in the throat. Men are two times more likely to get oral cancer than women and four times more likely to develop oropharyngeal cancer, cancer that affects the way back of the mouth. It can be treated with early intervention, but when it’s not caught early, it can spread to other areas of the body and may lead to death. This is just another reason why seeing your dentist in Douglasville every six months can help protect your overall health.
- The Need for Advanced Dental Care. Since men tend to avoid preventive dental appointments, they’re at increased risk for the need for advanced dental care. Just like most things in life, when a dental problem is left untreated, the solution is often more complicated than it would have been if caught earlier. What may have been a small area of decay a few months ago may now be a deep cavity, and the treatment can vary greatly. In the early stages, decay can usually be treated with a minor filling. However, if the decay infects too much of the tooth it may require a root canal and perhaps a dental crown. If decay is left alone for even longer, it may cause pain and require a tooth extraction, which should then be replaced with a dental implant or dental bridge. So while preventive dental appointments may seem unnecessary, if nothing is wrong, there can be problems lurking just below the surface that can be fixed immediately and easily before they cause problems and require advanced dental treatment.
Lifestyle Factors Play a Role
Besides skipping out dental appointments every six months, men are also more likely to engage in lifestyle factors that also increase the risk of oral health problems such as:
- Smoking or using smokeless tobacco
- Drinking alcohol
- Having poor oral hygiene habits
While it’s important for everyone to see their dentist in Douglasville every six months, men tend to need a little extra encouragement. So for this Men’s Health Month, and every month, we invite men to break the mold and schedule an appointment. Your mouth, and your overall health, will thank you for it.