The Importance Of Saliva In Oral Health

Most people don't like to see spit in their every day lives. Most people consider it icky and sticky – a bodily fluid best kept to yourself. Did you know, however, that saliva plays an important role for the body? Not just an important role, but several important roles, actually! The importance of saliva in your oral health cannot be diminished. Throughout the course of this brief article, you will learn why saliva is so important to your oral health, what happens to your body when your body does not produce enough saliva, common salivary disorders and when you should see a dentist about dry mouth.

Why Is Saliva So Important?

There is an entire host of reasons why saliva is important. Although saliva is made mostly of water, there are a number of other substances in saliva that actually help keep your teeth and gums healthy and strong. Saliva helps keep your mouth moist; in fact, if your mouth is consistently dry, this is a sign that you desperately need to see a medical professional. Saliva helps you chew, taste, and swallow your food. It serves to prevent germs in your mouth, as well as bad breath. Saliva also contains various proteins and substances that ensure that your teeth and gums lead a healthy life.

What Happens When The Mouth Isn't Producing Saliva?

When the mouth is producing little to no saliva, this condition is called xerostomia. There are a number of potentially serious health factors that can come into play when the mouth ceases making saliva. The mouth becomes dry, which can cause swollen gums and weakened teeth. In addition, when saliva isn't produced, the mouth stops fighting off bacteria and can cause bad breath. A dry mouth can also lead to tooth decay and gingivitis. If the body is producing too little saliva, it is important to keep well hydrated. Sucking or chewing on sugar free candies is a great way to produce a bit more saliva, as well.

Common Salivary Disorders

There are a number of disorders that can befall your salivary glands. Listed here are a few of the misfortunes that can occur to your salivary glands. Sialolithiasis occurs when calcium stones form, due to an abundance of calcium intake, in the salivary glands. This can block saliva that desperately needs to reach the mouth in order to function. Left untreated, this can lead to sialidenitis. This is an infection that has the same symptoms as sialolithiasis, but can be very painful and difficult to treat. Sjogren's syndrome is another disorder in which the body's autoimmune system isn't working properly and effectively shuts down your salivary glands, leaving you with dry mouth and swollen gums.

When To See A Dentist About Dry Mouth

There are plenty of times you may be suffering from dry mouth and do not need to see a dentist. In fact, dry mouth is a common phenomenon. Many smokers and drinkers of alcohol experience dry mouth frequently – in order for dry mouth to stop, it is highly recommend that they quit these habits, for their oral health, as well as the health of the rest of their body. If dry mouth persists, that is to say, it is chronic and is causing a number of health issues for you – such as inflamed gums and tooth aches, it is recommended that you contact your dentist ASAP. While dry mouth is a common affliction, it should still not be treated lightly.

As you can see, your saliva is a very important part of your body's self-cleansing and healing process. Next time you're grossed out by saliva, remember that it's a natural process that is required for your body to work correctly!

For more information, contact a local dentist like Joe Rosenberg, DDS