Saliva, or the more common term for that gland-generated natural liquid in your mouth—spit—is valuable. Yep, without spit, your mouth would be in a whole lotta’ trouble. At Lifetime Family Dental in Gilbert, AZ, we’re a general dental practice with a big heart and an experienced staff. We take care of people’s gums and teeth, because we know your oral health affects your overall health and keeps you feeling good about your smile. We may also be able to help you if you’ve got problems with generating enough saliva.
How Does Saliva Keep Your Mouth Healthy?
Saliva, produced by glands in your mouth, is primarily made of water, but it also has other qualities like proteins and minerals that help to protect your teeth. Saliva has many positive effects in your mouth. Here are just a few:
- It washes away food particles and neutralizes harmful acids,
- Helps in the chewing and tasting process of eating,
- Provides calcium, phosphate, and fluoride ions for your teeth,
- Aids in preventing bad breath,
- And if you wear dentures, it helps to keep them in place
The main production of saliva occurs when you chew on food or suck on a lozenge or cough drop. Interestingly, you may be surprised to know you produce between 2-4 pints of saliva each day! Saliva has many similar qualities to blood, and as a result, analyzing saliva has been used to help medical experts identify other physical problems in the body.
When a person doesn’t produce enough saliva, a dry mouth can result. Lack of saliva can contribute to a germy environment in the oral cavity and allow a quicker buildup of harmful bacteria and plaque, which can lead to dental caries (cavities) and other dental problems. If you’re curious about the detriments of dry mouth during extreme exercise training, check out our last blog post on Dental Health and Exercise. For those who struggle with dry mouth, careful dental hygiene is critical to maintaining good oral health. Sipping water throughout the day may help with dry mouth, and sucking on lozenges or chewing gum can also be helpful. Or if you like, ask your dentist about artificial saliva products.
Our general dental practice at Lifetime Family dentist in Gilbert, AZ is a state-of-the-art facility with a friendly, skilled staff. Here’s a link to a video that gives you a more personal glimpse into who we are. And if you have dry mouth, or you’ve got questions about your dental health in general, please feel free to contact us today. We’ll be glad to meet you and take care of your dental needs.