Each year throughout National Children’s Dental Health Month in February, the American Dental Association brings together dental health professionals, caregivers, parents, and teachers to give children the best start on oral health. This year’s NCDHM theme is “Water: Nature’s Drink.” Let’s explore how and why water is so important for good dental health!
Strengthens Your Teeth - Drinking water with fluoride is one of the easiest things you can do to help prevent cavities. Fluoride in drinking water remineralizes tooth enamel, meaning that it restores and strengthens its mineral content. Extensive research and studies prove that fluoride added to our community drinking water is a safe and highly effective way to significantly reduce the occurrence of tooth decay, particularly in cavity-prone children!
Keeps Your Mouth Clean - Food and sugary drinks leave behind remnants in your mouth that cavity-causing bacteria love. Water helps wash away those bits of food and bacteria before they can linger and wreak havoc in your mouth. Drinking water after eating also helps to: dilute the levels of acid in your mouth, cleanse your palate and freshen your breath.
Fights Dry Mouth - Saliva is composed of 99% water, and is our mouth’s first defense against tooth decay. It helps rinse away leftover food debris, helps us swallow, and washes our teeth in enamel-strengthening calcium, phosphate and fluoride. Dry mouth takes away all these benefits and puts you at risk for weakened teeth, tooth decay and oral infections. If you suffer from dry mouth, drinking water regularly will help lower those risks.
It’s Guilt-Free! - Rising consumption in sugary drinks has been a major contributor to the increasing rate of childhood and adult obesity in the U.S. Instead of sugary sodas, juices, and sports drinks, quench your thirst with water! Studies have even shown that drinking water can help you lose weight. Water contains 0 calories and 0 sugar, making it incredibly healthy. Go guilt-free with water, and take care of both your body and your smile!
Even a small change - like drinking more water - can make a big difference in oral health. Shamik Vakil, D.D.S. and council member of the ADA, says about the NCDHM campaign theme of “Water: Nature’s Drink” this year:
We know water can rejuvenate the body and stave off those sugary drinks and foods in our diet. Leonardo da Vinci once said that ‘Water is the driving force of all nature.’ As dental professionals we know that oral health is a driving force of overall health. I am convinced that our efforts to support water consumption and public health initiatives such as community water fluoridation will inevitably help prevent caries in our young patients and be supportive of their overall well-being.
Visit the ADA NCDHM page for plenty of fantastic and free resources to help you and your kids work towards better dental health, such as free downloads of fun posters, coloring sheets, calendars and more. Even better, these free resources are available in both English and Spanish!