While many people consider saliva to be odious, dentists know firsthand how important it is for keeping your smile healthy. Mouth Healthy offers more info about the benefits of saliva:
Saliva, or spit, plays a significant role in maintaining oral health. It is derived from blood and acts as the bloodstream of the mouth. What this means is, like blood, saliva helps build and maintain the health of soft and hard tissues. When saliva flow is reduced oral health problems such as tooth decay and other oral infections can occur. Chewing is the most efficient way to stimulate salivary flow. It causes muscles to compress the salivary glands and release saliva.
- Washes away food and debris from teeth and gums
- Helps moisten and break down food to ease swallowing and enhances ability to taste
- Provides disease-fighting substances throughout your mouth to help prevent cavities and other infections
- Helps keep the surface of your teeth strong by providing high levels of calcium, fluoride and phosphate ions at the tooth surface. Keep reading at Mouth Healthy
Numerous factors can influence your saliva production including medications, foods, beverages and the aging process. Dr. Robert Harrell and his exceptional team at Adult Dentistry of Ballantyne want your smile to be bright and healthy so they are invested in maintaining your good saliva flow.
Take Note of Saliva Production Changes
If you have noticed that your mouth feels drier, book a checkup with us at Adult Dentistry. To learn more about the possible causes and ramifications, read the following informative article, courtesy of Dr. Michael Fazzini:
Water’s good. Sugar-free gum helps. But, Listerine may dry out your mouth. Saliva is a health drink for your teeth and mouth. The three pints produced by the salivary glands each day contain antibacterial substances that protect teeth from cavities. Like all body fluids, saliva is a near cousin to blood, so it contains calcium and phosphorus that teeth absorb. It also functions as an overall lubricant for the mouth, preventing food from sticking to your teeth and gums. By neutralizing gastric acid and keeping the flow of food and drink through the mouth and esophagus on the right course, saliva may help check gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), a leading cause of heartburn.
A serious lack of saliva — the medical term is xerostomia (pronounced zer-o-STO-me-ah) — may develop for several reasons. It’s a side effect of many medications. It may result from autoimmune diseases like lupus and Sjögren’s syndrome. Head and neck cancer patients struggle with dry mouth after receiving radiation treatments.
Dry mouth is another reason you should see a dentist regularly. During a routine exam, dentists are supposed to look for little pools of saliva in the bottom of the mouth. The inside of your lower lip contains hundreds of tiny salivary glands, so dryness there is a bad sign. Go to Dr. Fazzini’s website for more
Braces May Temporarily Increase Saliva Production
ADOB reminds clients undergoing orthodontic therapy that it is common to experience oral health changes while wearing braces. For instance, when you first have your braces applied, you may notice an increase of saliva as your mouth adjusts to the new hardware. Once your mouth becomes attuned to the extra stimulation and your salivary glands adjust, your flow will return to normal. Learn more about excessive saliva production from oral care conglomerate Colgate:
Causes of Excess Saliva
More often than not, excessive saliva is a side effect of another issue. The British Journal of Medical Practitioners (BJMP) lists some of the following reasons for hypersalivation:
- Oral inflammation due to teething in babies
- Oral infections such as tonsillitis
- Certain medications, including tranquilizers and anticonvulsants
- Acid reflux
- Neuromuscular diseases, such as Parkinson’s, stroke and paralysis
Because excess saliva is typically the side effect of a more serious issue, it’s important to seek medical attention if your saliva output is such that it’s affecting your daily life or causing other issues, such as chapped lips, bad breath, dehydration or speech difficulties.
Dealing With Hypersalivation
The best way to stop your body from producing too much saliva is to address the underlying issue. In many cases, changing medications or getting treatment for medical issues can help resolve excess saliva. But there are other things that you can do to reduce how much saliva your body produces. More details from Colgate
Each time you visit Adult Dentistry, we check to see if you have appropriate saliva production. This is one of the main reasons maintaining a regular dental exam schedule is vital to your oral health.
If it has been a while since you’ve had a complete dental exam, contact Adult Dentistry of Ballantyne today to schedule a visit with Dr. Harrell. He is recognized as one of the city’s top dentists year-after-year by Charlotte magazine. Call Adult Dentistry now at 704-541-9888 or use the contact form on this page to make an appointment.