Importance Of Saliva to a Healthy Mouth

Importance of Saliva to a Healthy Mouth
Posted on 09/30/2019
Healthy Smile

Did you know that saliva is one of your mouth's most important defenses against gum disease and tooth decay? Furthermore, saliva aids in the digestive process, and helps to lubricate the moving parts in the mouth and throat during the chewing and swallowing process.

What exactly is saliva? How can it help your teeth to stay healthy? What can you do to promote the production of sufficient levels of saliva? This article will answer these questions.

What Saliva Is, and What It Does

Saliva is a slightly alkaline watery secretion that glands produce for the mouth. It is partly composed of elements such as proteins, mucin, salts, and usually enzymes. Saliva performs many important functions for your mouth. These include the following:

  • It provides a buffer for your teeth against harmful bacteria
  • Antimicrobial agents within saliva help to kill bacteria that carry disease
  • Saliva serves as a cleaning agent by removing small food particles from the surface of your teeth as it moves around your mouth
  • It helps counteract the enamel-eroding action of acids by removing acidic residues during the chewing and swallowing process
  • If enamel does suffer damage from acidic elements, saliva helps to repair the enamel through a process known as remineralization

Clearly, saliva plays an important role in keeping your mouth and teeth healthy. However, you may wonder: "How can I ensure that my mouth continues to produce enough saliva?"

How to Help Your Mouth Produce Enough Saliva

Many people suffer from xerostomia, also known as dry mouth. Dry mouth is one of the leading causes of tooth decay, gum disease, and the formation of cavities. Without adequate levels of saliva available to guard the mouth from infections and corrosive acids, you could suffer a number of symptoms, ranging from mildly uncomfortable to the acutely painful.

Dry mouth is often caused by other illnesses, such as diabetes, or comes about as a side effect of certain medications and treatments. Whatever the case may be, there are certain things that you can do to help promote healthy saliva production. These actions include the following:

  • Drink plenty of water each day
  • Chew sugar-free gum or suck on mints on a regular basis
  • Avoid high-sodium, acidic, or spicy foods
  • Brush and floss your teeth at least one time every day
  • Regularly visit your dentist for cleanings and checkups
  • If you notice any symptoms of dry mouth, reach out to your dentist for a consultation into the possible causes and treatments available

At Furumoto Dentistry in Diamond Bar, CA, we work hard to provide the best possible care to each and every one of our patients. We not only have the years of experience and the expertise needed to offer premier dental care, but we also take great pains to make our visitors comfortable and relaxed, and keep them well-informed on how best to care for their teeth, gums and mouth. If you have questions about whether you are producing enough saliva to keep your teeth healthy, or any other concerns, reach out to us today. We'll be happy to assist.