Saliva is one of those things about your body that is taken for granted until it’s gone. Then you notice that it affects your health every day.
Among things like proteins, minerals and water, saliva is made up of the enzyme amylase. The salivary glands make it while many small duct tubes constantly move the saliva around your mouth to keep it wet. The glands go into overdrive when you eat. Even just thinking about eating, or smelling food increases saliva production.
Saliva and Dental Health:
In terms of dental health, saliva protects against tooth decay and gum disease:
– Saliva is antimicrobial, which means it kills bacteria in the mouth.
– A thin film of saliva on the teeth protects the enamel from acids and bacteria.
– Saliva washes away food particles that can aid tooth decay.
– Saliva contains minerals that rebuild enamel surfaces on teeth.
– Enzymes in saliva break down and digest food to make it easier for you to swallow.
– Saliva lubrication in the mouth is essential to speaking properly.
– Saliva aids in maintaining fresh breath
Lack of Saliva:
The medical term for the lack of saliva is xerostomia or “dry mouth”. Many health conditions and medications can cause this and when you are not producing proper quantities of saliva problematic issues crop up:
– Uncomfortable, dry mouth feeling and constant thirst.
– Gum disease
– Tooth decay
– Infections from bacteria, fungus, and yeast.
– Difficulty swallowing and digesting food.
What to Do:
– Don’t become dehydrated. Drink lots of water daily.
– See your dentist or doctor to diagnose what is causing the problem.
– Examine the medications you are taking.
– Try chewing gum or sucking on candy.
– Maintain good oral hygiene.
– Avoid salty, spicy and acidic foods.
– Ask your dentist to prescribe an artificial saliva spray.
If you believe you have poor saliva production, Dr. Siti Lowery would be happy to discuss it with you. Please contact Lowery Smiles to make an appointment at: 919-371-2515, or come by our office in Cary, North Carolina.