Your saliva, commonly referred to as “spit,” is more important than you may think. While your body naturally produces extra saliva when you smell something delicious, hence the term “mouthwatering” food, the amount of saliva you have in your mouth is critical for your oral health too. In fact, saliva is a valuable tool in preventing cavities and bad breath. Here are some fun facts about saliva that will ensure you never take your spit for granted again:
- Saliva is produced by six major glands located within your oral cavity. In a 24-hour period, your body can deliver nearly 2 quarts of saliva! Certain medications, anxiety, dehydration, lack of sleep, smoking and the natural aging process can inhibit saliva production and cause dry mouth (xerostomia). It is important to address a chronic dry mouth, as your teeth are left more vulnerable to harm.
- Saliva is critical to your dental health. Not only does it help rinse away food and bacteria from your teeth and gums, but it also keeps your teeth strong by offering calcium, phosphate and other essential minerals found in your spit.
- Saliva makes for a more enjoyable eating and speaking experience. For example, you may have trouble talking, chewing and swallowing if you don’t have enough saliva. Furthermore, saliva enhances your ability to taste and it moistens your food to begin the digestion process.
- Saliva production can be stimulated by chewing. That’s why many dentists recommend chewing sugarless gum if you have a chronic dry mouth.
- Saliva tests are already used to diagnose HIV and detect alcohol and drugs in your system. However, research shows promising potential for saliva to be used to test for many diseases too, including cystic fibrosis, diabetes, heart disease and even certain types of cancer.
Never underestimate your spit! If you believe that your saliva production is low or you constantly feel like you have a dry mouth, talk to your dentist about it sooner rather than later. At Gilreath Dental Associates, we can help diagnose the root cause of your dry mouth and ensure you regain optimal saliva production for healthy teeth and gums!
Posted on behalf of Dr. Paul Gilreath IV,