One little-known fact about how hard water impacts you and your family may cost you thousands in medical bills. While dental hygiene may not be your first guess, it is what I found out the last time I sat in the dentist’s chair. My dentist and I were discussing water quality issues, and through the conversation, we landed on how hard water impacts the patients they see regularly. We did some digging, and here’s how hard water affects your dental health long-term.
What is hard water, and how does it contribute to dental health?
Hard water contains high levels of dissolved minerals, including calcium and magnesium. While these minerals may not seem bad, they can create household havoc by accumulating in pipes and plumbing fixtures, reducing water flow, or making undesirable stains on your appliances and fixtures. It also makes lathering soap, shampoo, and laundry pretty difficult, not giving you a truly clean feeling. And now we know that hard water also contributes to plaque buildup, potentially creating more stress at the dental office and more strain on your pocketbook from extra dental treatments.
When you’re measuring dissolved minerals in water, it is measured in grains per gallon (GPG) which ranges from 1 to 3.5 GPG, which is slightly hard, to 7 to 10.5 GPG, which is very hard. Incredibly, about 85% of United States homes have hard water at some level. Now, the degree of hardness does change depending on the location, even varying in households in the same town.
Soft water is a much more pleasant water quality for bathing, washing clothes, and cleaning. Reducing soap scum, mineral buildup, and plaque buildup can help you experience a truly cleaner clean. To get soft water, it typically needs to go over naturally occurring material like chalk or limestone, which has a lower mineral content. If you have a water softener installed, it may use ion exchange, which exchanges the calcium and magnesium ions with sodium ions. This can help improve the taste and feel of the water.
How hard water contributes to plaque build-up on teeth
Hard water minerals (such as calcium and magnesium) can aid in forming a film on teeth and turning that film to plaque. Here’s how it works. Plaque is that sticky gunk that stays on your teeth as leftover food and saliva mix (if you don’t brush well after you eat). It becomes a dental hygiene issue because the plaque contains bacteria, which leads to gum disease and tooth decay. Dental calculus happens when the mineral content in the mouth rises from calcium and phosphate ions.
You can strive to brush your teeth well — but when you have hard water, it naturally contains the minerals that contribute to dental calculus and then tartar, or the hardened plaque on your teeth. Tartar is mainly made up of mineralized dead bacteria, including calcium and magnesium.
The effects of hard water on dental health
From these dental health effects of hard water, you may experience an increased risk of cavities and gum disease. While you may be regularly brushing and flossing, the water you use, drink, and cook with, is just adding the materials needed for your mouth to keep bacteria growing.
Ways to mitigate the effects of hard water on dental health
Installing a water softener system is one natural way to reduce the risk of hard water on dental health. This system will do a few different things to improve your life, namely giving you softer and healthier hair and nails, cleaning your clothes and dishes better, and leaving your appliances free from unsightly stains.
Other simple ways to keep good dental hygiene are:
- Brush twice a day at least, if not after every meal.
- Avoid sugar and starch and eat a healthy diet.
- Floss one time per day.
- See your dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups.
- Use a tartar-control toothpaste if needed.
- Experiment with oil pulling to prevent tooth decay.
Now that we know the impact of hard water on dental health, we’d like to share with you our favorite hard water solution. The NH Tap Onestep Conditioner Water Softener is a smart water softener system that is more reliable than other models and is virtually maintenance-free. We love providing a unique full-service water softener solution. With backup power and computerized softener distribution, our customized whole-house water softener system will give you the best water for cleaning, bathing, eating, and drinking.
When I sat in the dentist’s chair that day, I grew more thankful for our company’s solutions, which simply help families stay healthier with water free of contaminants, toxins, and minerals that don’t need to be there. We all want to have a healthy smile, and taking steps to protect your water sources also helps you have the confidence and cleanliness you truly need.
Contact us today to schedule a water test and see if your home — and teeth — could benefit from this impeccable option.
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