Hydration and Healthy Teeth

One of the healthiest things children can do for their teeth in addition to brushing and flossing twice a day is drinking plenty of water!

You may be surprised by some of the benefits associated with drinking water. When we drink water, it flushes our system of waste, distributes nutrients, helps our skin and keeps our muscles at optimal function. It also provides much needed fluoride, fights dry mouth, is calorie free and keeps your mouth clean.

Fluoridated Water

Fluoride is a natural way to stave off cavities and it’s in most water supplies. A modern-day tale of two cities shows what a difference fluoride makes, especially in community water systems. In 2011, the Canadian city of Calgary stopped adding fluoride to its water. Curious about the impact, researchers compared Calgary second graders with kids in the same age group in Edmonton, a Canadian city that has had fluoridated water since 1967. Their research, published in the February 2016 journal Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology, found children in non-fluoridated Calgary had more tooth decay than children in the city with uninterrupted fluoridation.[1]

Water Frees Your Mouth from Bacteria

Sports drinks, sodas and juice create a buildup of sugar on teeth that may lead to an accumulation of bacteria. These bacteria which can lead to cavities, sit on the teeth if they aren’t washed away appropriately with you guessed it, water! Brushing will be a great help, sometimes it can be hours between having a sugary drink and brushing teeth. After sugary drinks, we recommend drinking water as the best way to wash away potentially harmful bacteria.

In addition to sugar, many of these drinks also have acids (phosphoric, citrus or malic acid) to make them taste less sweet, but those acids also cause trouble by eroding away enamel. Only have sugary drinks in moderation.

Water Enhances Your Saliva Production

Saliva has a tooth-related purpose – it naturally flushes your mouth of leftover food, sugars on teeth and acids. It also helps you swallow and strengthens teeth by rinsing them with calcium, phosphate and fluoride.  Saliva production gets reduced if your child isn’t drinking enough water. This can lead to dry mouth, which can cause bad breath, throat soreness and more. If your child’s mouth has an odor, it may be a sign of dry mouth. Talk to us if your child is having this symptom and we can work with you on a solution.

Water Has Zero Calories

Making good food choices and drinking plenty of water are great practices that will contribute to strong oral health and better overall wellness. Moderation is key. Instead of packing that sports drink for a practice or grabbing that soda for a long trip, reach for the water instead as often as possible. According to the National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability, on average, 91% of children are drinking over 200 calories a day from sugary drinks.  Yes, you read that correctly, 91%, or 9 out of 10 children are drinking over 200 calories every 24 hours from sugary drinks.  That means that over 200 calories ingested into a child’s body may be full of refined sugars with little nutritional value. Experts recommend that children consume less than 6 teaspoons or 25 grams of sugar daily from all food sources including drinks.  Consuming excess sugar can contribute to obesity and other health issues.  On the other hand, cutting it out can lead to better weight control in those who are overweight.[2]

Pediatric Dental Associates of Alabama is led by top-rated pediatric dentists with locations in Birmingham, Cullman, Hoover, Medplex, Oxford and Pell City. When looking for your child’s dentist, know that we aspire to be the premier provider of pediatric dental services in Alabama. We also provide orthodontics in our Hoover, Medplex and Cullman locations. Beautiful smiles are our specialty!


[1] Adapted from https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/nutrition/food-tips/water-best-beverage on June 8, 2022.


[2] Adapted from https://www.nchpad.org/1554/6546/Juice~~Soda~~and~Sports~Drinks  on June 8, 2022.


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