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An older black woman stands in her kitchen smiling and holding a glass of water

Proper hydration is absolutely essential for our overall health. Our bodies are about 60% water and the water we consume optimizes blood pressure, regulates body temperature, lubricates joints, moves waste out of the body, and aids in digestion. Drinking water is also one of the best things you can do for your smile!

According to the American Dental Association, there are several ways that drinking water can help maintain dental health.

It Strengthens Teeth

Drinking tap water with fluoride is one of the easiest and most beneficial things you can do to help prevent cavities. Fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral that strengthens teeth by reducing tooth decay when in drinking water. Water fluoridation is endorsed by the American Medical Association, the American Dental Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which lists it as one of the top 10 greatest public health achievements of the 20th century.

Cleveland Water is required by the Ohio EPA to add fluoride to our drinking water. We add about 0.7 to 0.9 milligrams per liter (mg/L) of liquid fluoride during the water treatment process. When added to the amount (0.1 to 0.3 mg/L) naturally found in Lake Erie, the total concentration in water leaving our treatment plants is approximately 1.0 mg/L. This falls right in the middle of the range for fluoride content designated by Ohio law. 

It Fights Dry Mouth

Saliva, which is 99% water, is your mouth’s first defense against tooth decay. It neutralizes enamel-eating acids produced by bacteria and washes away food particles. Saliva also enhances your ability to taste, makes it easier to chew and swallow, and aids in digestion.

When your saliva supply runs low, dry mouth can result, putting you at risk for tooth decay. Drinking water supports saliva production, which is essential for fighting tooth decay and keeping gums healthy.

It Keeps Your Mouth Clean

Beverages like juice, sports drinks, and soda leave behind unwanted sugar on your teeth. The cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth eat that sugar and produce acid. The acid created by this bacteria wears away protective tooth enamel which leads to cavities. Many of these drinks also have added acids (phosphoric, citrus or malic acid) that only add to the problem. In addition, built-up bacteria can contribute to bad breath

Water, however, helps keep your teeth and mouth clean. Drinking water will wash away any lingering food residue and help prevent bacteria that contribute to bad breath or tooth decay from forming. It also dilutes the acid produced by bacteria in your mouth. You’ll still need to brush and floss twice a day, but drinking water throughout the day will go a long way toward maintaining your dental health.