The Importance of Saliva

Very few people think about their saliva until they no longer have any. But, this liquid impacts your health every minute of every day. Even while you are asleep, your saliva is working hard to keep the balance in your mouth.

Saliva is derived from your blood. Like tears, which are formed in the lacrimal gland, saliva is formed when blood passes through capillaries. These small capillaries do not allow the bigger cellular components and proteins to pass through. What results is saliva. All of this saliva is distributed throughout your mouth using ducts.

We get more than just the watery basis from our blood. All of the proteins, enzymes (amylase), minerals, and proteins in your blood carry over and influence the health of your saliva. The better the health of your blood, the better the health of your saliva.

Now the question becomes… why is healthy saliva important?

Saliva contains a lot of antibodies, which fight off bacteria and viruses. There is a sort of pump system which keeps your saliva stocked with antibodies. Since most bacteria enter your body through the mouth and nose, having strong antibodies in these areas is your first line of defense against sickness.

Your glands are constantly producing saliva. It is released continuously, but when you eat or think about food the glands are stimulated and more saliva is produced. Even the act of chewing, regardless of if there is any food in your mouth, will contract your salivary glands and release more saliva.

Saliva helps wash away leftover food particles. It is not always possible to brush after every meal, saliva washes away the bacterial food source until you have a chance to brush, floss, and or rinse. Proper saliva production prevents gum disease, tooth decay, and periodontic gum disease (http://www.northmiamibeachdentist.com/dental-services/periodontics-gum-disease/) by washing away extra bacteria.

Digestion is aided by saliva. In fact, without saliva our food would taste bland. It acts as a lubricant for your taste buds, making them sensitive to the main taste groups. If you do not produce enough saliva, it may be difficult to swallow and digest food. When food is not properly mixed with saliva, fungus, yeast, and bacteria will build in your stomach. Digestive diseases can easily spread to your mouth.

Some people have a condition called xerostomia, or chronic dry mouth. They are more likely to have dental complications. Anyone who has this condition should drink a lot of water. This will wash your mouth out like saliva and prevent dehydration which decreases saliva flow even more. Also, try rinsing 4-6 x per day with a baking soda solution. Use 2 tsp of baking soda per 8 oz glass of water.

A dentist may be able to prescribe you medication or give you suggestions for supplements to help your condition. Proper dental care becomes even more important if you have saliva production issues because you lose that first line of defense. Getting regular cleanings and check-ups will prevent decay and may help you produce more saliva. Saliva production can be increased by chewing sugar-free gum or eating sugar-free mints.

Before treating gum, tooth, or other oral problems consult with Dr. JJ Edderai. A dental check-up every three to four months will allow Dr. Edderai to keep a watchful eye on your oral health and prevent cavities before they start. For answers to some of the most commonly asked questions, visit my FAQ page at http://www.northmiamibeachdentist.com/faqs/.

Copyright Dr. Jean-Jacques Edderai -2015

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