Have you asked yourself, “Why does my mouth produce saliva?” If so, you’re in luck! Today, we’re explaining what saliva is and what purpose it serves for your oral health.
What is Saliva?
Yes, saliva: everyone’s favorite water and enzyme mixture that helps break down food and keeps your teeth strong. While it may not be pleasant to talk about saliva during dinner, this fluid deserves special attention on how it plays a significant role in your oral health.
Saliva is a clear liquid produced and secreted from special glands around the jaw. Saliva is comprised primarily of water, but other parts of saliva include mucus, white blood cells, and enzymes that help break down substances. These enzymes also help break down food particles and plaque around the gum line.
Why does my mouth produce saliva?
Saliva plays multiple roles in the health of the mouth. These roles are primarily protective and assisting. Specific roles for saliva include:
- Keeping your mouth moist, which prevents your mouth from becoming dry and decaying
- Vital for tasting and swallowing food
- Inhibits the growth of germs and bad breath
- Makes chewing easier
Too little saliva in the mouth
Too little saliva in the mouth, or dry mouth, is a growing concern in the dental field. Having little saliva can dry the mucous membranes that surround the gums and teeth. This can lead to bacterial infections, bleeding, or tooth decay. It can also make eating and drinking completely unenjoyable. Needless to say, low production of saliva needs medical attention. To fight dry mouth, our hygienists recommend Ice Chips. Not only do they fight against cavities and bacteria, but to also help aid in producing saliva for patients that suffer from dry mouth. The lemon and other sour flavors that we carry in the office help the mouth to produce more saliva naturally than having to use other products. They taste great too so that is also a plus!
How to stop excessive saliva
You may also be on the other end of saliva production: producing too much saliva. Too much saliva production can get in the way of enjoying foods or can be an inconvenience. Here’s how to stop excessive saliva: change your diet or consult with a dental expert. Although overactive saliva glands may be a problem, a doctor can treat them.
Concerned for Your Salivary Glands?
Keeping your salivary glands healthy should be a part of your dental health care plan. If you’re concerned about your saliva production, visit Dr. Balle and his dental team today. Whether you experience dry mouth or overproduction, we can help.