PEOPLE should drink enough water so enough saliva, which is the most important natural defence against tooth decay, can be produced in the mouth.
Professor and director of the School of Dentistry at San Francisco's University of the Pacific, Allen Wong said people don't fully understand the importance of saliva and the important role it plays in fighting tooth decay.
"Everyone has saliva but you have to have a certain amount of it and the saliva has to be of good quality," he said.
"If a patient opens his or her mouth and the saliva is sticky, stringy or bubbly that is a clear indication that they are not producing enough saliva. And the reason for that is that they are not drinking enough water."
Dr Wong said people can save money on visiting the dentist and enduring tooth pain if they understood that there were simple preventative measures they can take at home.
"Drinking water is very important so that you have what it needs to make saliva. You need to have enough of saliva, which is a salivary output of millilitre per minute and the dentists can check that for you.
"Saliva also has to be neutral or basic. Saliva acidity is measured with a basic swab and tested.
"One simple one is eating less acidic foods or rinsing your mouth out with water or even modifying water using baking soda. Baking soda can help reduce the acidity of saliva — an eight ounce glass can be mixed with half a teaspoon of baking soda and used as a mouth rinse for about a minute."