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What Is The Purpose Of Saliva?

Saliva is a clear liquid that is made by numerous glands in the area of the mouth.

It is considered a vital component of a healthy body.

In addition, saliva is made mostly of water.

However, it is a valuable substance that the body requires to properly and easily digest the foods we eat and to keep the teeth strong.

Reasons why saliva performs very pivotal roles:

  • Combats germs in the mouth and prevents foul-smelling breath
  • Keeps the mouth comfortable and moist
  • Contains minerals and proteins that shield the enamel of the tooth and inhibit gum disease as well as tooth decay
  • Helps a person chew, taste, and swallow well
  • Greatly aids in keeping dentures securely in place
  • Maintains the pH balance and neutralizes acids. For example, the consumption of foods that are high in sugar can urge some changes in the production of acids and in plaque pH balance. This can easily erode the enamel of the teeth and may sooner or later result in tooth decay.

Here are the other important facts about saliva:

  • As you know, a person produces saliva when he or she chews. In fact, the harder a person chews, the more saliva he or she produces.
  • The salivary glands produce saliva, which is found at the bottom of the mouth, inside each cheek, and near the front teeth of the jaw bone.
  • Saliva moves through tubes referred to as salivary ducts. Take note that there are a total of 6 major salivary glands and also hundreds of minor salivary glands.
  • Typically, a person’s body produces two to four pints of saliva a day. Normally, the body makes the most saliva during late afternoons. Meanwhile, the body makes the least amount of saliva at nighttime. Please be guided that everyone is different. Generally, what doctors regard to be a normal amount of saliva differs slightly. This is what actually makes diagnosing saliva-related issues somewhat challenging.

What happens when you have too little saliva?

There are certain medications and diseases that can affect how much saliva a person makes. If you don’t have sufficient saliva, the mouth becomes dry. This is called xerostomia, or simply, dry mouth.

Xerostomia causes the tongue, gums, as well as other tissues inside the mouth to become uncomfortable and swollen. Likewise, bacteria easily develops in this form of setting. A mouth that is dry and filled with bacteria results in a foul-smelling breath.

It is worthy to note that xerostomia also makes a person more vulnerable to rapid tooth decay and may become more likely to suffer from periodontal disease. This is because saliva greatly aids in clearing food debris from the teeth. But without the proper saliva supply, tooth decay is quite common. In the same way, saliva also helps reduce the risk of dental cavities. You may also notice that you don’t taste things like you used to if you have dry mouth.

Bear in mind that saliva is a great defense against a lot of mouth and tooth problems. So, if you are currently experiencing a decrease in the production of saliva, do not take your symptoms lightly, and go to your doctor or dentist at once.

Disclaimer: The oral health information published on this web page is solely intended for educational purposes. Hawaii Family Dental strongly recommends to always consult licensed dentists or other qualified health care professionals for any questions concerning your oral health.

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