The Important Role Saliva Plays in Oral Health

During an average day, you probably don’t give much thought to saliva. However, it’s a very important part of the balance of factors that keep your teeth and oral tissues healthy. Those who suffer from dry mouth or other problems related to salivary function often find themselves visiting the dentist seeking treatment to restore their overall oral health.

Why Is Saliva Important?

Saliva provides the first step of digestion when you chew your food, as it begins the process of breaking down your food. It also helps wash away food particles that would otherwise cling to your teeth and begin the process of tooth decay. Another important function is helping regulate the pH balance of your mouth.

Saliva is composed mostly of water, but it also contains enzymes and other substances, such as minerals, which help keep your teeth healthy. It keeps the mucus membranes in your mouth wet so you can eat, talk, and breathe comfortably. Proper saliva production helps reduce the likelihood of developing cavities and gum disease

Problems Associated with Saliva Production

Lack of saliva can lead to a condition called dry mouth. Dry mouth can be very uncomfortable and can also lead to numerous problems including:

  • Bad breath
  • Tooth decay
  • Sores or swelling in the mouth
  • Reduced ability to taste

Dry mouth, or xerostomia, can be treated by stimulating saliva production. You can do this by chewing sugarless gum, or eating hard candies. Drinking extra water also helps with dry mouth. There are also over-the-counter treatments that help keep your mouth moist and comfortable. However, if your dry mouth is very uncomfortable, you should see your dentist for additional treatment.

It is also possible to create too much saliva, although this condition is rarely dangerous or uncomfortable. It is possible to have an overactive salivary gland or to respond to certain foods by producing excess saliva. If you feel your mouth is too dry or that you are producing too much saliva, contact our team at Family Smiles Dental Group today. Call 972-539-0608 to schedule your visit.