Why Saliva Is Important For a Healthy Mouth

You may think saliva is gross. Simply look at the unpleasant stream of drool coming out of the mouth of a baby. You walk in the mall and see a teenager hack up a big wad of spit onto the sidewalk.

You notice your saliva increases when you’re hungry and the thought of dinner race around in your mind. You wake up in the morning and grab a glass of water because your mouth is uncomfortably dry.

Everyone has saliva. As unpleasant as you think it is, it serves an important, critical role in maintaining dental health. Saliva is your body’s natural mouth rinse.

Besides keeping the mouth moist and clean, saliva also balances the pH of the mouth, breaks down food for digestion and triggers the taste receptors to the brain that helps one to taste food.

There is an increase in saliva production during the day when your body is awake and when you consume most of your meals. During the night when your body is asleep and not eating, saliva production goes down.

Saliva keeps the inside of your mouth and the outer surfaces of teeth and gums wet, making it more difficult for food particles, sugar and carbohydrate molecules to stick and get stuck on teeth and gums.

With less food particles remaining in the mouth, the less that will decay and cause potential tooth decay and gum disease.

Before modern dentistry, saliva, and drinking water, were the only dental hygiene options available. Today, there are many kinds of toothpastes, toothbrushes, dental floss and mouthwash.

Modern dentistry, however, doesn’t completely replace the necessity of saliva. Oral hygiene complements saliva in caring for your mouth.

For instance, you brush, floss and rinse in the morning and the evening. What about the in between time while you’re out and about? You’re likely not going to be carrying around a toothbrush, toothpaste and mouthwash.

There are dental floss picks you can use to remove food particles from in between teeth. Saliva, however, constantly produces the moisture inside your mouth that it needs to minimize germ and possible plaque build-up.

How is Saliva Produced?

Saliva comes from a set of salivary glands that are located on the bottom of the mouth and in front of each ear.

Saliva is produced in the glands and are transported into the mouth through a various system of small ducts.

Saliva production is controlled by both automatic and sensory innervation, meaning that its production is part automatic and part triggered by sensory impulses.

If you find that your mouth is drier than normal or is chronically dry, there may be an underlying health issue affecting the flow of saliva into the mouth such as salivary stones.

What is Saliva?

Saliva is primarily composed of water (around 99%). Other ingredients include electrolytes, mucus, enzymes, epidermal growth factor, and cells. Some of the enzymes of saliva act as pain-killers, and attach to B-12, which protects the stomach.

Saliva is important in keeping the mouth clean, making the digestion of food easier, balances the mouth’s pH levels and enhances the flavoring and taste of food and drinks.

As gross as you may think saliva is, it is important. If you notice a constant dry mouth or extremely bad breath, schedule an appointment with your dentist as there could be an issue with the salivary glands.

Source by Anna Bird

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