Saliva production plays an important function in your overall health. The salivary glands make this important mixture while the ducts in your mouth dutifully wash the saliva around, keeping it well lubricated. These glands go into hyperdrive when you eat. Just thinking about eating, or smelling food increases saliva production.
In terms of dental health, saliva defends against tooth decay and gum disease:
– Saliva eradicates bacteria in the mouth because it is antimicrobial.
– Saliva on the teeth saves the enamel from acids and bacteria.
– Saliva carries away food particles that cause tooth decay.
– Minerals in saliva rebuild enamel surfaces on teeth.
– Enzymes in saliva break down and digest food to make it easier for you to swallow.
– Saliva lubrication in the mouth is essential to speaking properly.
– Saliva aids in maintaining fresh breath
The dental terminology for insufficient saliva is xerostomia, also called or “dry mouth”. Several health problems and some types of medications can cause xerostomia and when you are not salivating properly the below problems arise:
– Uncomfortable, dry mouth feeling and constant thirst
– Gum disease
– Tooth decay
– Infections from bacteria, fungus, and yeast
– Difficulty swallowing and digesting food
What to Do:
– Don’t become dehydrated. Drink lots of water daily.
– See your dentist or doctor to diagnose what is causing the problem
– Examine the medications you are taking
– Try chewing gum or sucking on candy
– Maintain good oral hygiene
– Avoid salty, spicy and acidic foods
– Ask your dentist to prescribe an artificial saliva spray
If you believe you have poor saliva production, Dr. Timothy R. Lund would be happy to discuss it with you. Please contact River Rock Dental Group to make an appointment at: 406-388-0033, or come by our office in Belgrade, Montana.