Fitness buffs all know the benefits of staying cleansed and hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
But did you know regularly drinking tap water can greatly benefit your oral health?
Dr. Mark Reichman wants you hydrate. For your oral health.
Despite widely held misconceptions about tap water, experts agree that the water that comes right from your sink (in most places) is often safe (and possibly safer) than bottled water. Plus, when you use a refillable container, it is just as convenient as luxurious bottled water without the unnecessary costs. The best perk of all? Tap water protects your great smile.
Why is this? Public water sources are fluoridated. This means that tap water is fluoridated, so by drinking water right out of the sink, if you drink it regularly enough you likely enjoy the perks of fewer dental cavities and less visits to your dentist.
How does fluoride help? Fluoridated drinking water probably has a systemic effect on oral health. Systemic fluorides can give topical protection because ingested fluoride is present not just on the surface of the teeth but in the saliva, which continually bathes the teeth. Fluoride is incorporated into the tooth surface to prevent decay and becomes incorporated into dental plaque to facilitate further remineralization. It reduces the ability of plaque organisms to produce acid and the solubility of enamel.
According to KnowYourTeeth.com, over 144 million United States residents in approximately 10,000 communities drink fluoridated tap water. Fluoride provides an automatic defense against harmful ingredients that cause preventable oral health complications and diseases. In fact, flouride is added to public water sources for this reason. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention actually identifies fluoridation of public drinking water as one of the top 10 public health achievements of the 20th century. Studies show it reduces cavities in adolescents by between 8 and 37 percent, and among adults by 20 to 40 percent. Not bad!
Why is public tap water a healthier choice than bottled water? In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has to regulate public water. They must notify the public of several things, including whether a water contaminant is present and exceeding EPA standards, potential health effects, and what the public can do to protect itself.
Plus, the act of drinking water is ultimately simply cleansing. Washing your mouth through cleans your mouth, rinsing away lingering materials from your last meal and nasty cavity-causing bacteria. Plus, it dilutes the acids produced by the bacteria in your mouth.
So, thirsty yet? Get drinking! And remember – tap water, not bottled!