Did you know that you will likely produce over 25,000 liters of saliva in your lifetime? That is enough to fill two swimming pools! Your spit, or saliva, may not be something you think about on a daily basis. However, you might be surprised to discover the many vital roles your saliva plays in your overall health. Saliva is more than just a watery substance that keeps your mouth moist. It serves as the beginning stages of digestion by helping break down food and swallow. In fact, you can thank your saliva for its ability to help you taste food and prevent bad breath. The proteins and minerals in saliva can protect your tooth enamel and are critical in preventing infections such as gum disease, since it can control bacteria and fungi in the mouth.
Your bacterial make up of your salvia can also reveal how prone you are to getting cavities. Saliva has always played an important role in your oral and dental health; now testing your saliva could be an indicator to more serious, life threatening diseases. Human saliva may be 99.5% water, but the other .5% of saliva’s’ makeup is gaining a lot of attention lately and is becoming more and more important. It may not be long before your dentist can start checking your salvia to determine important medical indicators for your overall health. Recent research studies have found a positive link between certain bacteria in your saliva and both pancreatic cancer and stomach cancer.
Despite the valuable roles your salvia plays in your oral health and as indicators of your general health, it is important to also be aware of what the absence of saliva reveals as well. If you find yourself producing less salvia, you may be experiencing dry mouth. There are several causes of dry mouth including medication side effects, tobacco use, and open mouth breathing. However, certain diseases and infections can also be causes. Alzheimer’s, anemia, cystic fibrosis, hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes all tend to reduce the amount of salvia in your mouth. Gilreath Family Dentistry is provides consultations to patients who concerned about how their salvia or dry mouth is affecting their oral health.
The next time you swallow that extra spit, you can appreciate the powerful benefits your saliva holds.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Paul Gilreath IV,