February is National Children’s Dental Health Month and this year it celebrates water. The 2021 slogan is “Water: Nature’s Drink.”
Tap water and fluoride
Fluoride in tap water helps prevent cavities. Regular consumption of tap water along with regular brushing and flossing helps to create healthy teeth.
Fluoride is a mineral naturally found in our bones and teeth. How do they help against cavities? By re–mineralizing your teeth and strengthening the molecular structure of our enamel! Dental sealants have fluoride too. Fluoride helps rebuild teeth enamel and can reverse early signs of tooth decay.
This is why having fluoride in tap water is such a big help. It is important to realize that bottled water does not contain fluoride (usually) and that some communities have more or less fluoride in the water. If you are unsure if your water supply has water, check with your local municipality. If you are on a well, you can order a water test kit that will tell you. Fluoride tablets can used if your water supply does not contain fluoride.
Remember to swish your mouth with water after eating something sweet or acidic. This helps your mouth neutralize the acids. Even unfluoridated water helps to bring your mouth pH up to the normal value of 7 while washing sugar and sugar eating bacterial off of your teeth.
You should probably wait some time after eating before brushing as some foods contain acid that actually softens your tooth enamel. Many toothpastes today have abrasive particles (to help “whiten”) that can accelerate enamel erosion if done while enamel is in a weakened state immediately after eating. So, swishing with water helps so much, especially if that water has fluoride!
Water has zero calories, zero sugar and no acid
Juice is one of the dentists’ top enemies. Juice has both sugar and citric acid that wreak havoc against tooth enamel.
Soda and other drinks like sugary gatorade and juices might give your kids an energy boost, but the sugar content of these beverages adds up into unhealthy amounts that can increase the risk of tooth decay. Excessive consumption of sugary beverages also has links to diabetes and obesity.
It’s best to drink water. To spice things up a bit, you can try infusing it with some fruits to add flavor and vitamins, or you can use a water carbonator or soda maker. Adding fizz to water makes it more interesting and can make it more of a special treat.
Remember to hydrate
Eight glasses a day or two liters a day helps regulate everything in your body, from your sugar levels to your blood pressure and cell health.
Don’t worry about too much fluoride from drinking water
Fluoride in tap water is diluted enough to be absolutely safe no matter how much you drink. Parents do need to watch younger kids to make sure they’re spitting their toothpaste properly, but regarding tap water consumption, you’re good to go!
About Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan
Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan has specialized in pediatric dentistry and orthodontics since 1968. Our family-friendly and newly renovated office gives patients and families a more comfortable and consistent experience with dentistry from the very beginning. Our pediatric dentists treat children from newborn to 18 years of age while our orthodontists provide care for both children and adults and are proud to be Premier Providers of Invisalign and Invisalign Teen services. We have the ability to treat all patients with compassion and individuality, including those that may have special needs as we have treatment rooms available for children who require additional privacy and customized care options. We pioneered valued hospital affiliations to allow dental services to be performed at DMC Children’s Hospital and St. John Macomb Hospital, when appropriate or necessary, and our specialists are also proud to be on staff at Henry Ford and Beaumont hospitals.