While everyone reaps the benefit of healthy saliva production, not everyone knows what goes into it. Saliva is the clear liquid which the glands in your mouth produce, known as salivary glands. Saliva is comprised mainly of water and travels to the mouth through tubes called salivary ducts. Along with the water content, it also has minerals in it, such as phosphate and calcium.
Saliva is an important part of your healthy smile, as it keeps teeth healthy and strong. Staying hydrated helps ensure adequate production, which is important since it protects tooth enamel by coating the teeth in calcium and other minerals that are good for your teeth. It dilutes the acid in the mouth that erodes the teeth, and washes away the oral debris in the mouth, including bacterial plaque. Saliva also has substances in it that helps fight oral bacteria and disease.
If the bacteria in your mouth is not regularly removed, it results in plaque which creates acids that erode the tooth enamel and you end up with cavities. Acid arises in the mouth from the food you eat (sugary, starchy), and drink (soda), if you are pregnant with morning sickness which causes vomiting, or even acid-reflux.
Saliva has molecules that neutralizes the acid–calcium and phosphate that protect the teeth from acid erosion. If you drink water with fluoride in it, or use fluoride containing toothpaste or mouthwash, this fluoride can also remain in the saliva, protecting enamel. This is also known as remineralization. Generally, saliva washes away oral debris, like food particles, cleaning off your teeth after you eat and drink, which would otherwise feed the bacteria in your mouth.
As you can see, saliva production helps you maintain a healthy smile! Properly balancing saliva production, your daily oral care, and regular dental visits all work to remineralize your teeth. If you have any questions or concerns, we invite you to come in and visit with our dedicated dentist, Dr. Ryan P. Lehmkuhler. You can reach our First Dental team in Dodge City, Kansas by calling 620-225-5154 today!