Saliva and Your Health

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Saliva production aids in good oral hygiene and your overall health. So, it’s crucial your salivary glands make this important potion in the proper quantities. If your mouth is not making enough, called dry mouth, you’re in for a host of unhealthy issues that you may not even be aware of.

Healthy Mouth and Teeth:

In terms of dental health, saliva defends against tooth decay and gum disease:

– Saliva decimates bacteria because of its antimicrobial properties.
– A thin film of saliva on the teeth is like a force field defending enamel from acids and bacteria.
– Saliva carries away food particles that cause tooth decay.
– Minerals in saliva rebuild enamel surfaces on teeth.
– Enzymes in saliva aid digestion and make it easier to swallow.
– Saliva creates the lubrication critical for speech.
– Saliva helps to keep breath fresh.

Sufficient Saliva:

The dental terminology for insufficient saliva is xerostomia, also called or “dry mouth”. Several health problems and some types of medications can cause xerostomia and when you are not salivating properly the below problems arise:

– Feeling of thirst and bothersome parched feeling in the mouth.
– Many forms of gum disease.
– Tooth decay
– Bacterial infections, yeast and fungus.
– Digestion issues
– Swallowing problems

Now What Do I Do?

– Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
– See your doctor to review which medications may be the problem.
– Use hard candy and chewing gum to motivate your saliva glands
– Daily brushing and flossing.
– Find foods that do not dry out your mouth. Avoid anything spicy, salty, or acidic.
– Your dentist can prescribe medications and/or artificial saliva spray.

If you believe you have poor saliva production, Dr. Damon Thompson would be happy to discuss it with you. Please contact Real Life Dental to make an appointment at: 540-552-5433, or come by our office in Blacksburg, Virginia.