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What Role Does Saliva Play In Dental Health?

HomeCavity PreventionWhat Role Does Saliva Play In Dental Health?

man wearing glasses and a purple sweater holds his chin and ponders the importance of saliva for oral health

You probably have never really thought about your saliva unless you wake up with drool on your pillow or are sitting in a dentist’s chair. It may seem like something you don’t need to give much thought to, but saliva is actually very important to keeping your mouth healthy. Here, we’ll explain what role saliva plays in dental health.

What Is saliva?

First, let’s discuss what saliva is. Made up of water, minerals, mucus, proteins, and amylase, saliva is the bloodstream in your mouth. It helps to maintain the soft and hard tissues in your mouth much the same way that blood helps to maintain the rest of your body. Also more commonly known as spit, saliva can also help to clean out your mouth from any food bits that are left over in your mouth after you have eaten. It’s basically nature’s mouthwash!

What Role Does Saliva Play in Dental Health?

Saliva is vital to dental health. By cleaning your mouth out after you’ve eaten, saliva actually protects you from tooth decay. This is because the main causes of cavities are from the bacteria in your mouth feeding off of the leftover food stuck in your teeth. The bacteria then creates acids that destroy and weaken tooth enamel, your teeth’s first defense against tooth decay. Without enamel, you are at a much higher risk for developing cavities. By covering your teeth in a thin film, saliva is able to wash away many of those dangerous left over food particles. Saliva is also full of minerals such as calcium, fluoride, and phosphate that are necessary for your oral health. These minerals found in saliva help to rebuild weakened enamel and neutralize any acids in your mouth in the process called remineralization. Additionally, saliva keeps your mouth moist, which keeps your mouth safe from dry mouth, which could lead to other oral health issues.

How Can You Stimulate Salivary Flow?

To make sure that you always have enough saliva in your mouth, there are a few things that you can do. Drinking plenty of water is vital to stimulating your saliva because when you are dehydrated, your saliva production decreases. Eating foods that are high in fiber like apples and celery are also a great way to get your saliva flowing and stimulate your gums in the process. You can also chew sugar free gum to help you produce saliva.

Schedule a Checkup or Cleaning Today!

Another great way of ensuring that your dental health is good is to come in for regular checkups and cleanings. Contact us to schedule an appointment today.

Dr. John Cutting

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John Cutting, DMD is an Annapolis dentist experienced in all aspects of dentistry. He provides complete care from general dentistry to cosmetic and restorative dentistry in his conveniently located and comfortable office, Edgewater Dental Arts.