As the season shifts from spring to summer, I cannot help but feel optimistic and excited for the warm sunny days ahead and spending time by the water. Whether it’s by the ocean or poolside, summer days make the best memories filled with carefree vacations and a general sense of well being. Water is definitely my favorite natural element and being close to the ocean brings me a sense of calm and a fresh perspective.
With spring in full swing, it’s time to refresh your hygiene routine and create healthy habits, like drinking more water, to make sure you create the best version of yourself for the upcoming season! Water is not only important for preventing dehydration, detoxing the body, weight loss, skin health, but also extremely important for saliva production and oral health. Did you know that by drinking more water you could also prevent cavities? Let’s break it down. Water is one of the major components of your saliva. Saliva acts as a defense system or buffer to regulate the acid levels as we eat and drink throughout the day. How is this related to cavities?
Our mouths host millions of species of bacteria that are competing to survive. Every time we put food in our mouths and start chewing, we provide food to these organisms, specifically the Streptococcus Mutans species, which is the main culprit of cavities. So, living in the plaque in between your teeth are millions of bacteria that eat the same foods you eat and produce acid as a byproduct or waste, which creates small holes (cavities) and demineralizes your teeth. Our goal should be to reduce the amount of bacteria, the number of times we feed the bacteria and increase our saliva! The current recommendation by the American Dental Association is to snack less than three times a day, chew xylitol gum to increase saliva production, and drink more water! The acidity created from the bacterial waste after ingesting sugars from our foods, lowers the pH levels of our oral health, which further propagates demineralization of the enamel of our teeth. With increased saliva after food ingestion, drinking more water and flossing we can increase the pH levels, and physically remove food that remains between the teeth, preventing the bacteria from feasting on it.
You might be wondering if there is any way to strengthen the enamel to protect it from all the bacterial waste and the acidic foods and drinks we intake. The answer is fluoride! Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that was added to our public water as a public health measure. It has been one of the most important public health orders that has significantly reduced dental disease in the United States. Fluoride attaches to the calcium and phosphate that make up the enamel of our teeth, forming fluorapetite, which is less resistant to acids. Nowadays, we can prescribe prescription strength fluoride toothpaste and apply fluoride varnish to help strengthen the enamel of the teeth, making it less easily penetrable. So there you are, drinking lots of water is beneficial to your oral health!
Each person has a certain level of risk for getting cavities, and by assessing your hygiene and nutrition habits, we can determine the best plan of action to stop the development of cavities and get you back on the right track. With some nutritional counseling and brushing/flossing instructions, you can lower your risk for cavities significantly. Please call us at (818) 776-1236 to get your teeth checked, and ask me how you can prevent getting new cavities. I hope this small lesson on the importance of water and how cavities are formed gives you a little more insight into the world of dentistry. I am here for your oral health needs. We are just a text, call or email away.
Dr. Argina Kudaverdian