At Every Age, Saliva Plays A Critical Role In Your Oral Health
YOU PROBABLY DON’T OFTEN THINK ABOUT YOUR SPIT (and frankly, we’d be a little worried about you if you did). And yes, drooling babies are a nuisance. But did you know that saliva is a critical component for healthy teeth and great oral health—regardless of your age? Here at our practice, we’re concerned about BOTH your teeth and your complete oral health. We thought you may find it interesting to learn how saliva helps keep your mouth protected and healthy, even when we’re not around.
Four Reasons Your Saliva Is Awesome
- Your saliva slowly and continually builds your teeth into tiny fortresses. It carries minerals like calcium and phosphate ions which reinforce your enamel.
- Saliva is an important part of your immune system. It contains immunoproteins that police your mouth, fighting bacteria and coating teeth in a protective layer.
- It’s a lubricant. Thanks to saliva, your mouth and tongue are flexible. Talking and eating would be seriously difficult without it.
- Saliva keeps your mouth clean. It washes away food particles and rebalances the pH level in your mouth every time you eat.
Xerostomia (a.k.a. Dry Mouth) Can Be A Problem
Now that you understand how much your saliva does for you, you probably see what a problem it could be if it weren’t there. When your body isn’t producing enough saliva, it’s called dry mouth, or xerostomia (pronounced “zeer-uh-stoh-mee-uh”). It’s often caused by common medications like antihistamines or antidepressants. It can also be a side effect of dehydration or diseases like Parkinson’s and cystic fibrosis. Sometimes it’s simply a result of aging.
Here Are A Few Suggestions That May Help You
If you’re having trouble with xerostomia, ask us about it! We’ll be sure it’s not part of a bigger problem. In addition to the simple suggestions below, there may be other things our team can suggest that will help:
- Rinse your mouth regularly with water.
- Chew sugarless gum or suck on a sugarless candy to help stimulate saliva flow.
- Avoid alcohol and tobacco, which can both be dry mouth contributing factors.