21 Nov The Important Role Saliva Plays in Oral Health
Saliva is one of those things you never think about … that is until it is absent. The healthy mouth produces saliva day and night. If your mouth feels abnormally dry, your dentist should be consulted to determine the cause for the lack of saliva.
Saliva is the water produced by the salivary glands located in your mouth. Chewing, sucking, any mouth activity will generally induce saliva production. And this moisture has multiple responsibilities.
Saliva allows teeth and tongue to function properly allowing words to be formed correctly. If the mouth is dry or sticky, speaking becomes difficult, lips can become chapped, and your throat may become irritated.
Swallowing is aided by the moisture we produce when chewing. And the content of our “spit” aids in digestion.
Saliva has been coined “nature’s mouthwash” as this natural moisture helps keep the mouth flushed of harmful germs and bacteria. Without this constant flushing action, bad breath, dental decay, and gum disease are possible side effects. The continuous flow of saliva works to protect dental enamel.
What causes a dry mouth? There are some temporary situations like using an antihistamine when suffering from a cold or allergies. This medication is geared to dry up nasal congestion, but it usually does not stop there and can impact saliva production.
Nervousness at times like when preparing to address a crowd can make the mouth go dry.
These situations are temporary, but when your condition becomes more serious or permanent, your dentist can help.
Other more critical medications like those used to control high blood pressure or depression can cause dry mouth. Illness or advancing age can impact saliva production. When dry mouth lasts or becomes severe, this is called xerostomia. Your dentist may be able to change or adjust your medication.
When your mouth feels dry, you can try chewing sugar free gum or sucking on sugar free candy. Your dentist can recommend one of the many rinses available to promote oral moisture. Staying hydrated by consuming water throughout the day is helpful.
Saliva is critical to oral health. Brushing and flossing daily, and getting teeth cleaned by your dental professional every six months are things you can do to maintain dental health. But if you are experiencing an interruption in saliva production, see one of our dentists to improve your health and oral comfort.
Call our practice and set up a consultation with one of our dentists at Balcones Family Dental.