How saliva helps promote your dental health
Most folks never stop to think about the importance of saliva in their dental health. But the fact is saliva has a very important role in protecting our teeth.
Saliva Has Many Important Functions
It’s hard to believe, but the typical person makes two to four pints of saliva a day. But why and how does it help us?
1. Saliva aids in digestion by beginning the process of breaking down food. Saliva also helps us chew, swallow and even taste our food.
2. Saliva is highly beneficial to the maintenance of our oral health. Our spit contains antimicrobial agents that protect teeth from the hazards of bacteria and keeps it from building up on our teeth. Saliva also contains minerals such as calcium and phosphate that can actually remineralize our teeth, which aids in strengthening the enamel.
3. After a meal, saliva plays an important role by washing away that extra food and sugars and such left in your mouth that can build up and contribute to tooth decay. Saliva also helps neutralize the acids created by bacteria that break down enamel and cause cavities.
Some People Do Not Create Enough Saliva
Some people have a condition called dry mouth, where they aren’t producing enough saliva. Since we need a certain amount of saliva to help promote our dental health, this can lead to obvious concerns. How does dry mouth occur? Certain illnesses and medications can cause dry mouth, and those who have it are more prone to tooth decay and gum disease. Whether or not you have dry mouth, here are some ways you can increase saliva production and protect your teeth:
- Drink plenty of water
- Chew sugar-free gum, especially after meals
- Pop a piece of sugarless candy into your mouth
If you think you may be suffering from the effects of dry mouth, make an appointment with the dental professionals at Longmeadow Family Dental Care.