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  • Writer's pictureGaby

How Important Is Saliva?

Saliva production is crucial for maintaining oral health. Your salivary glands produce saliva as a mildly alkaline secretion comprising of about 99% water. The three main functions of saliva are to lubricate your oral tissues when speaking, aid in breaking down and swallowing your food, and protecting your tooth structure. Saliva serves several important functions in the body:

  • Digestion: Saliva contains enzymes, such as amylase, that begin the process of breaking down carbohydrates in food. This initial digestion helps facilitate the overall digestive process in the stomach and intestines.

  • Moistening and Lubrication: Saliva helps to moisten and lubricate food, making it easier to chew, swallow, and move through the digestive system. This prevents dryness in the mouth and throat.

  • Oral Hygiene: Saliva plays a key role in maintaining oral health by washing away food particles, bacteria, and debris. It helps to neutralize acids produced by bacteria, reducing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.

  • Speech: Saliva helps with articulation and pronunciation during speech by keeping the oral tissues moist.

  • Taste: Saliva contains chemicals that assist in dissolving food particles, making it possible for taste receptors on the tongue to detect flavors.

  • Antibacterial Properties: Saliva contains antibacterial substances that help control the growth of bacteria in the mouth.

Insufficient saliva production, a condition known as xerostomia or dry mouth, can lead to various oral health problems. Dry mouth can be caused by medications, certain medical conditions, dehydration, or aging. Common issues associated with dry mouth include an increased risk of tooth decay, gum disease, difficulty swallowing, and altered taste sensation.

If you are experiencing persistent dry mouth, it's important to consult with a healthcare professional or dentist, as they can help identify the underlying cause and recommend appropriate measures to address the issue. Staying hydrated, practicing good oral hygiene, and addressing any underlying health issues are essential for maintaining proper saliva production and overall good oral health. If you have any specific questions or would like to add additional information to this blog post please comment below. We love to hear from our readers.

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