Why is Saliva So Important?

boy drinking waterSaliva is one of the most important defenses you have against oral diseases and infections. It can protect your mouth against bacteria that cause serious damage by attacking your enamel or gums. Chronic dry mouth, or xerostomia, is therefore a serious concern, as a lack of saliva can increase your chances of cavities, gum disease, or bad breath. If you are experiencing dry mouth, visit the dentist to find the proper treatment to protect your oral health.

The Best Defense of Your Mouth

1.) True or False—Saliva contains enzymes that can fight bacteria in your mouth.

2.) True or False—Saliva is partially composed of minerals that bolster your enamel.

3.) True or False—Chewing is the best way to stimulate the flow of saliva.

4.) True or False—Saliva helps you taste foods.

5.) True or False—Certain medications can cause dry mouth.

Answers

1.) True. While saliva consists mostly of water, it also has enzymes that prevent bacteria from growing. In addition, saliva can neutralize acid created by those bacteria, and clean away food particles that contribute to the growth of plaque.

2.) True. Saliva contains phosphate and calcium, which can replenish the protective mineral layer of your teeth, called enamel.

3.) True. The best way to create more saliva is by chewing (also called mastication). You can chew sugarless gum between meals to facilitate saliva flow. You can also drink plenty of water and milk (which also contains enamel-building minerals) as a treatment for dry mouth.

4.) True. Moisture helps you taste, break down, and swallow foods.

5.) True. There are many types of medicines that list dry mouth as a side effect, such as anti-depressants, pain medication, and muscle relaxants. If your medicine causes you to have chronic or severe dry mouth, you can talk to your doctor about changing your dosage or finding an alternative treatment.

ABOUT YOUR NORTH RICHLAND HILLS FAMILY DENTIST:

With over 25 years of professional experience, Dr. Steven M. Huffstutler and his caring team proudly provide exceptional preventive, cosmetic, and restorative dental treatment to patients and their families across Dallas/Ft. Worth, including North Richland Hills, Denton, the Mid-cities, Southlake, and all surrounding communities. We also have extensive experience helping patients find relief from painful TMJ disorders (various forms of jaw dysfunction). To schedule an appointment with Dr. Huffstutler, contact our office today by calling 817-577-1444.