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Your Amazing Saliva

Posted in General Dentistry

Where It Comes From?

Saliva is a clear liquid made by hundreds of glands in and around your mouth. You have 6 main salivary glands. In your cheeks there are the Parotid glands, one on each side. Near your bottom front teeth under your tongue is 2 Sublingual glands, and the lower jaw is home to 2 Submandibular glands. Salivary ducts expedite saliva to your mouth.

salivary glands - Your amazing saliva
6 main salivary glands

Your Amazing Saliva

Saliva is an important part of dental health and essential for your overall health. It consists mainly of water but also has vital substances your body needs to digest food and maintain strong teeth. Your saliva also maintains a comfortable level of moisture in your mouth. That consistent level of moisture helps you chew, taste, and swallow food. It also starts the digestion process as it begins breaking down the food you eat.

Your Amazing Saliva
Your body produces 1-2 liters of saliva every day!

Your Amazing Saliva contains specific proteins and minerals that protect tooth enamel, and fight off germs, which prevents tooth decay, gum disease and even bad breath. Specifically, “saliva is composed of a variety of electrolytes, including sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, bicarbonate, and phosphates. Also found in saliva are immunoglobulins, proteins, enzymes, mucins, and nitrogenous products, such as urea and ammonia.” These components provide 4 main functions. First, they “act to modulate pH and the buffering capacity of saliva.” Second, they “contribute to dental plaque metabolism.” Third, they “work together as an antisolubility factor and modulate demineralization and remineralization.” And forth, some of them “provide antibacterial action.” –  See The Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry.

Usually, your body produces the most saliva in the late afternoon and production drops off at night while you sleep. In a single day, your body produces 1-2 liters of saliva. Chewing and sucking increases saliva production, so the more we eat and drink the more saliva we produce.

Dry Mouth

Xerostomia or dry mouth is a condition where salivary glands are not producing enough saliva. Some medications can slow saliva production and certain diseases can also cause dry mouth. One immediate result of having an overly dry mouth is that you become susceptible to rapid tooth decay and gum (periodontal) disease. This is because saliva helps to wash away food particles from your teeth and gums which reduces cavities forming environments. Bacteria and germs thrive in a dry mouth giving you bad breath and, in some cases, reduce your ability to taste well.

What You Can Do?

If your mouth is always dry and uncomfortable. Ask your doctor about any medications you are taking. Could one of them be causing it? Review your diet or habits and avoid smoking or drinking too much alcohol. Drink plenty of water. There are toothpastes, sprays, and mouthwashes designed to help. Also, some people chew sugar-free gum to help with dry mouth.

Your Dentist Dr. Stephen Mathews and the Erbsville Dental Team care about your dental health and you as a person. If you have an issue with dry mouth, talk to them about treatments and solutions.

This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Accordingly, always seek the advice of your Dentist or other healthcare providers regarding a dental condition or treatment.