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How Saliva Affects Your Teeth and Oral Health

January 23, 2019

You probably don’t give much thought about the saliva in your mouth, but what you may not know is that sufficient saliva production is important for your overall oral health. When your dentist examines your mouth, they can check to see if you are producing enough saliva, because it can mean the difference between good and poor oral health.

Benefits of Saliva

Since your mouth is the beginning of your digestive tract, saliva helps to bring the food down to the stomach. Just like the oil in your car engine, it helps you taste and swallow and keeps your digestive system running smoothly.

  • Helps fight germs in your mouth
  • Cleanses your teeth
  • Contains proteins and minerals that help prevent tooth decay and gum disease
  • Helps prevent bad breath

Problems When You Don't Produce Enough Saliva

Your body produces saliva throughout the day, and your salivary glands increase the amount of saliva produced every time you chew. So, what happens if your body does not produce enough saliva? The following are some of the problems that can occur:

  • Swollen tongue
  • Dry mouth
  • The Teeth and tongue start to stick to everything
  • You can’t speak clearly

If untreated, it can lead to more serious issues like oral yeast infections or burning sensations in the mouth.

What Causes Dry Mouth?

  • Side effects from over 400 prescriptions and over the counter medications
  • Treatments like radiation for oral cancers
  • Diseases such as diabetes
  • Pregnancy

How to Alleviate Dry Mouth

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Chew sugar free gum
  • Suck on sugar free candies sweetened by xylitol
  • Use specific toothpastes and mouthwashes that are made to help alleviate dry mouth and maintain the moisture content of the oral cavity

If you suspect your mouth is not producing enough saliva, speak to your dentist and develop a plan together to help keep your oral health in tact and give you something to really smile about!

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