Most patients don’t think about saliva production when they think about their smile, but it is just as important for a healthy smile as healthy teeth and gums are. The environment in your mouth depends on the health of your oral tissues, and is provided by healthy levels of saliva production to maintain the smooth functioning of your mouth.
Optimal saliva levels are created by the flow of liquid from the salivary glands located near your front teeth, inside each cheek, and at the bottom of the mouth. Saliva is a clear liquid consisting mostly of water, along with mucus, glycoproteins, antibacterial compounds, electrolytes, and enzymes, and travels through tubes in the mouth (the salivary ducts) from the salivary glands where it is secreted into the mouth.
Healthy saliva production prevents xerostomia, or dry mouth. Dry mouth can cause oral tissues to swell and feel discomfort. In a dry oral environment where saliva is not constantly washing away the germs in your mouth, the harmful bacteria proliferate and cause bad breath. Saliva protects tooth enamel with its proteins and minerals, preventing cavities and gum disease, but it also keeps your mouth moist and comfortable as you chew, taste, and swallow your food. Saliva also keeps dental appliances like dentures in place so they don’t slide around when you talk or chew.
What You Can Do:
–Limit your consumption of diuretic liquids like tea, coffee, alcohol, and caffeinated soda.
–Chew sugarless gum or suck on sugarless to stimulate saliva production during the day.
–To maintain healthy saliva production, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
To ensure your healthy smile, eat a healthy diet, stay hydrated, brush and floss your teeth and gums daily, and visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings. To schedule your next cleaning with Dr. Charles A. Peter, please call our dental team in Clearwater, Florida at 727-785-7202 today!