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What your spit can tell you about your dental health

When it comes to our oral health, spit really is “it”. In fact, it turns out the moistness in our mouths plays an integral role in our overall health. These are some interesting facts about saliva you may not know.

First of all, what is saliva?

Considering the human body is 60 percent water, it may not be surprising that saliva is also mostly water. It turns out saliva is about 99 percent water – the remaining one percent consists of electrolytes, uric acid, digestive enzymes, cholesterol and mucus-forming proteins.

How can our spit help keep us healthy?

There are many ways your spit benefits your everyday health. For example, the idiom “lick your wounds” was derived from its ability to fight infection thanks to a white blood cell, called neutrophils, present in spit. Saliva also helps prevent cavities due to its high levels of calcium, fluoride and phosphate.

Saliva actually helps us taste

It is common knowledge that you rely on taste buds to enjoy a good meal, but did you know you actually need to salivate as well? Your spit acts as a solvent, dissolving foods and distributing them to the taste receptors on the tongue. It also keeps taste buds moist and healthy so they can do their job.

Kiss and tell

Your mouth may feel clean, but it is actually home to more than 700 types of bacteria. One study found that a 10-second kiss could transfer roughly 80 million bacteria. Ewww!

What causes a dry mouth?

When you experience high levels of anxiety or stress, you may notice your mouth becoming extremely parched. That’s because when the brain senses danger or stress, the digestive system, including saliva production, shuts down to conserve energy in a process referred to as the “fight or flight” response.

Spit counts, in the right amounts

Your body is always producing saliva – the most during the afternoon and the least at night. It all adds up to about two to six cups per day. Malfunctioning salivary glands or frequent dry mouth can alter your production. Low amounts of saliva can cause bad breath and an increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease.

That’s why it always makes sense to visit your dental professionals regularly and discuss any changes in your mouth. At Longmeadow Family Dental Care, we’re here to help you maintain a happy and healthy mouth all year long! Make your appointment now.