The Oral-Systemic Connection
A new paradigm between dentistry and medicine is now developing regarding patient care. As the oral-systemic connection is more clearly understood, dentists who are trained in diagnosing oral and periodontal disease will play a greater role in the overall health of their patients. Many times, the first signs of unnatural systemic health conditions reveal themselves in changes within the oral cavity.
Periodontal disease and chronic dental infection are associated with a doubled risk for heart attack. (39) The presence of periodontal disease before age 50 is the strongest predictor of mortality (no matter what the cause). (40) “The persistence and/or severity of periodontal disease is the strongest predictor of the presence and extent of advanced arterial disease of any risk factor yet identified.”
Water Cleans Your Mouth
Whenever you eat a meal or enjoy a beverage, tiny particles of what you consumed get left behind in your mouth even after you swallow. They might be in the form of acids, sugars, complex carbohydrates, or other types of substances. If acid stays on your teeth for too long, it can weaken your enamel. Additionally, oral bacteria love to feast on sugars and starches, a process that contributes to the formation of plaque and dental decay.
Sipping water after a meal helps to rinse away food particles that might otherwise stay in your oral cavity for too long. It can be especially useful for removing particles on the chewing surfaces of your teeth or in the snug spaces between them.
Water Fights Dry Mouth
Saliva is a remarkable substance that serves as one of the human body’s first lines of defense against cavities and gum disease. Not only does it help to wash away bacteria and food particles, but it also contains key minerals, like phosphate and calcium, which help to strengthen teeth. It even forms a thin film (called a pellicle) on the teeth that serves as a safeguard against demineralization and decay.
On average, a human produces 0.5 – 1.5 liters of saliva per day. If you are dehydrated, though, you may fall short of that benchmark; your salivary glands may not produce enough saliva to keep your mouth healthy. If your mouth is dry for any reason other than dehydration, sipping water can help to keep your mouth moist while your dentist or general physician tries to find a long-term way to address to your dry mouth.
Here Are Just a Few Important Ways Water Works in Your Body
- Regulates body temperature
- Moistens tissues in the eyes, nose and mouth
- Protects body organs and tissues
- Carries nutrient and oxygen to cells
- Lubricates joints
- Lessens burden on the kidneys and liver by flushing out waste products or detoxifying you
- Helps dissolve minerals and nutrients to make them accessible to you body
How Much Water Do You Need?
So how much fluid does the average, healthy adult living in a temperate climate need? The U.S. National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is:
- About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluid a day for men
- About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluid a day for women
These recommendation cover fluids from water, other beverages and food. About 20% of daily fluid intake comes from food and the rest from drinks. Water demand will fluctuate upon many variables like temperature, exercise, overall health and pregnancy. Always consult a health care practitioner.
How to Drink More Water
Would you like to increase your water intake? Here are some tips to help you get started:
- Purchase a high-quality, reusable water bottle so you always have water with you.
- Drink filtered water
- Make it a habit to drink a glass of water first thing each morning.
- Consume foods that have a high water content. Zucchini, celery, lettuce, and certain fruits are good choices.
Improving your oral health could be as simple as drinking more water! Why not go fill up a glass right now?
Meet the Dentist
Dr. George Keanna is a holistic dentist with decades of experience in his field. He genuinely cares about the well-being of his patients and wants to empower them to make wise choices about both their oral and overall health. If you are interested in learning how he and our team may be able to serve you, contact us at 505-292-8533.