Saliva: A Review of Its Role in Maintaining Oral Health

24 Aug 2018

Saliva: A Review of Its Role in Maintaining Oral Health

Did you know that saliva plays a significant role in maintaining your oral health? If you have reduced saliva flow, you may experience some oral health problems such as tooth decay and oral infections. Keeping your saliva at a healthy level will help keep your mouth in tip-top shape!

What Is Saliva and How Is It Produced?

Saliva is a clear liquid mostly made of water. It contains substances that help your body digest food and keep your teeth strong. It is produced by the salivary glands and moves through tubes known as salivary ducts. Most people usually produce around two to four pints of saliva a day.

Why Is Saliva Important?

Saliva has many functions including washing away food and debris from your teeth and gums. It moistens and breaks down the food you eat to help enhance the taste and allow you to swallow it with ease. Saliva helps with digestion by breaking down your food. It also helps facilitate speech by keeping the moving oral tissues lubricated.

Saliva helps heal teeth and keep them strong through a process called mineralization. It also contains minerals and proteins that protect the tooth enamel and prevent cavities and gum disease. Saliva fights germs in your mouth, preventing bad breath.

Insufficient Saliva

Certain diseases or medications can affect the amount of saliva you produce. Insufficient saliva can cause dry mouth, otherwise known as xerostomia. Dry mouth can result in many problems. The gums, tongue, and other soft tissues may begin to become swollen and uncomfortable. Germs flourish, leading to bad breath. Dry mouth can increase your risk of developing gum disease and tooth decay. You may also begin to notice that things don’t taste like they used to.

What Should You Do if You Have Too Little Saliva?

Drink plenty of water, chew on sugar-free gum, and suck on sugar-free candy. If you continue experiencing a dry mouth, call us to schedule an appointment so we can help treat your condition. We may recommend artificial saliva and tissue lubricants to relieve your dry mouth and keep it moist and comfortable.

Schedule Your Appointment Today

Contact us at Scottsdale Esthetic & Implant Dentistry to learn more about how to keep your mouth in optimal shape. We are committed to helping you maintain a healthy smile for years to come. Call today!