Saliva plays such an important role in a healthy mouth, but not everyone realizes this. Typically it is the teeth and gums that are the stars of the show when it comes to a healthy, attractive smile. But without saliva, your teeth and gums would be subject to infection and you could not so easily perform the chewing and swallowing motions required. So let’s take a look at why you should be aware of your saliva production.
What is saliva’s job in the mouth?
Saliva works to wash away food particles, moistens and breaks down the foods you eat and helps you taste and swallow. Not only that, saliva produces disease-fighting agents that prevent tooth decay and oral infections. Saliva also secretes high levels of calcium, fluoride and phosphate ions that directly benefit your teeth.
What is saliva comprised of and how is it released into the mouth?
Saliva is created from blood and maintains the healthy soft and hard tissues in the mouth. Insufficient saliva production actually increases your risk of tooth decay. There are three salivary glands on each side of your mouth:
- The parotid gland up high in your cheek, secreting saliva just above your upper molars.
- The submandibular gland lies deep in your jawbone alongside your bottom teeth, secreting saliva beneath the tongue.
- The sublingual gland sits beneath the tip of your tongue, secreting saliva near the front of your tongue’s bottom surface.
How are proper levels of saliva maintained?
The most effective way to create saliva production is to chew, as this action causes the muscles to compress and release saliva. Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated, such as water, and watch your caffeine intake to make sure your saliva is producing properly. You can also chew sugar-free gum or mints to stimulate saliva production. Our dentist may also prescribe artificial saliva rinse or spray to help moisten your mouth.
If you think you may be experiencing the effects of dry mouth due to insufficient saliva production, we are happy to help! Dr. Taylor Robinson and our team are always eager to help you achieve a healthy smile. You can reach us at Robinson Wolfgramm Dental in Provo, Utah, at 801-373-2060 today.