The Importance of Water to Dental Health

You know that water is important to your overall health. After all, water makes up over 70 percent of our bodies. This vital liquid helps our bodies do everything from cooling down to transport nutrients. But water is also crucial for your teeth and oral health.

A dry mouth is an unhealthy mouth. Harmful bacteria can thrive on your teeth and gums when your mouth is too dry, causing tooth decay, foul breath, gum disease, and infections. Let’s take a look at common causes of dry mouth and how water can help.

Dry Mouth Causes

Known medically as xerostomia, dry mouth can be the result of many different causes. Of course, your mouth is normally moist due to the action of several salivary glands. If these glands stop working or function improperly, you are left with a dry mouth. Xerostomia does more than simply make it difficult to swallow food. In fact, without saliva to wash away harmful bacteria, these bacteria can spread and lead to many dental problems.

Everyone experiences a dry mouth from time to time such as after an intense workout, from nervousness during public speaking, or maybe upon first awakening in the morning. However, dry mouth can be chronic for some people. Causes of such a condition include:

  • Medications – Certain medications, especially some chemotherapy drugs, may cause dry mouth as a side effect.
  • Radiation – Radiation therapy for head and neck cancers may also affect the salivary glands and lead to dry mouth.
  • Chronic disease – Autoimmune disorders and chronic diseases like diabetes can cause dry mouth in patients.
  • Bone marrow transplants – Around 60 percent of all patients who have received a bone marrow transplant suffer from dry mouth.
  • Salivary gland obstruction – The salivary glands can become obstructed, restricting the flow of saliva.
  • Age – Older individuals are more likely to develop chronic dry mouth than younger people.
  • Dehydration – One of the main causes of dry mouth is simple dehydration from not drinking sufficient water.

 

What Can You Do About Dry Mouth?

If you are affected by frequent dry mouth, you need to take steps to correct the problem. The first and most important measure is to Drink Water! Staying properly hydrated is essential to maintaining sufficient amount of saliva, and nothing is better for hydration than plain old water.

Coffee, tea, and soda can actually compound the problem the problem due to caffeine and sugar. The same goes for alcoholic beverages. Alcohol exacerbates dehydration. Finally, fruit juice may provide water, but the sugar makes these drinks a pure choice.

Next, cut back on salty and sugary foods. These foods help to dry out your mouth. Instead, choose sugarless gum or candy to help stimulate saliva flow.

Finally, be sure to inform your dentist and family doctor about your dry mouth problem. They can help by checking for medication side effects, offering advice, or even providing saliva substitutes to keep your mouth moist.