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    Benefits of Saliva


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    Saliva is one of the many things in life we do not appreciate enough. We do not give saliva much thought in our daily lives, let alone think about how it can help us. However, saliva has several benefits; living without it would be impossible. Read this blog to learn about the different ways in which saliva is beneficial to your dental and general health.

    Benefits of Saliva

    Saliva is a colorless liquid mainly made up of water secreted by six major glands located in the mouth. This liquid has the critical function of maintaining an excellent oral health environment, in addition to making it easier to swallow food, chew, and speak. An issue with saliva production or lack of it, also called dry mouth, can cause problems. Here are the oral and general health benefits of saliva.

    Helps Digest Food

    What could be more fundamental than digestion? It is another task our bodies need to undertake, and it would not be possible without saliva. The digestion process begins the minute food goes into the mouth. Food chewing is the first stage of digestion. Without saliva, chewing food would not even be possible. Breaking down larger bites of food would take very long, and it would increase the likelihood of choking.

    However, chewing does not only prevent choking hazards, but it also makes food mix with saliva, which has enzymes that assist your intestines and stomach in breaking down molecules. The chewing process lets the body absorb nutrients.

    Enables You to Taste

    The next advantage of saliva is that it helps with the ability to taste food. We would not enjoy our foods as much if there were no saliva since it is the component that conveys food molecules to the taste buds.

    Whenever you are dehydrated, you do not taste much of the food. Due to this, most people tend to add more sugar or salt to strengthen the taste. However, this method does not work; it will lead to even more dehydration.

    Therefore, focus on saliva stimulation rather than adding sugar or salt to your food. One of the ideal methods of producing enough saliva is to remain hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Additionally, you could snack on nuts, cheese, and vegetables or chew on xylitol gum.

    It Protects The Immune System

    Saliva protecting the immune system is one of the most shocking benefits. Saliva is a critical part of the immune system. It boosts the health of our immunity in two ways.

    Firstly, it binds the mucus layer in the mouth. This protective layer prevents dangerous microorganisms from entering the body. Saliva contains plasma B cells, which make IgA (Immunoglobulin A) antibodies. These refer to the antibodies that keep the mucus layer strong and our bodies healthy.

    Secondly, saliva safeguards our immunity through suppression. At times, our bodies see harmless proteins found in foods as dangerous. This reaction may cause inflammatory problems in the throat and mouth, such as an allergic reaction. However, salivary glands produce cells to suppress the immune system, thus preventing this overreaction.

    Saliva is essential for good general health. It helps us positively react to allergens, digest food, communicate, et cetera. Routine dental care keeps our mouths healthy and our salivary glands functioning at their best.

    It Is a Lubricating Agent

    Mouth lubrication is the most apparent benefit of saliva. Everyone feels dry whenever they are dehydrated. However, have you ever thought about lubrication whenever you do not feel like drinking water? Saliva is a very powerful lubricant for our mouths, and in its absence, we would not be capable of talking, eating, or even smiling. It prevents our cheeks, lips, and tongues from sticking together.

    Since mouth tissue is soft, it can easily be damaged if it dries out. Without saliva, we would face a constant risk of injury just by moving our teeth. Scraping teeth against a dry tongue or cheek for a long time could cause mouth sores and ulcers to form. That is why dry, cracked lips are among the first signs of dehydration. That means the body protects itself by relaying the message via the mouth.

    Saliva Is a Starch Buster

    The starch found in foods such as bread and pasta is another type of sugar that can cause cavities to develop if left in our mouths after eating. Saliva actively breaks down these materials into a form less problematic to our teeth’s health. By breaking down complex and simple carbohydrates, saliva facilitates the mouth to flush these materials out instead of allowing them to remain stuck to the gums and teeth.

    The mouth produces higher saliva levels whenever we eat large meals, such as dinner and lunch. Not only will this make it easier for us to swallow and for the stomach to break down the food we eat, but the increased flow of saliva is like a kind of car wash for our teeth. It assists in keeping our mouths cleaner, depriving plaque of the source of fuel it requires to damage our oral health.

    Saliva Prevents Dental Diseases

    This benefit is concerned with saliva’s fight against bacteria. Many of us understand that dental diseases are not fun, but they are what we develop in the absence of saliva and its enzymes.

    Individuals who have a dry mouth have higher dental plaque levels. Additionally, they are highly likely to develop cavities and gum disease due to a lack of enzymes and saliva. Lysozyme is an example of these enzymes. Lysozyme breaks down the bacterial cell walls. Another crucial enzyme is lactoferrin, a protein that stops bacteria from snatching iron from our bodies. This is beneficial since bacteria prevent iron from developing, causing diseases.

    Lastly, saliva has antimicrobial peptides that kill bacteria by attaching to bacterial cell walls. They open larger pores, resulting in cellular fluid draining and bacteria dying.

    Saliva Helps Maintain Healthy Teeth

    Another unnoticed importance of saliva is that it prevents tooth decay or cavities. It might be surprising that tooth decay can occur because enamel is the hardest matter in the whole human body.

    The ideal way to fight tooth cavities is through routine dental visits and minimizing acid. The foods we eat provide fuel for mouth bacteria to create strong acids. Acid weakens the enamel, allowing bacteria to enter the teeth.

    Saliva can help in this scenario as it can neutralize the acid by balancing the PH level in the mouth. That is why our mouths generate more saliva whenever we eat. It is to counteract the acid the bacteria is making.

    If you already have damaged enamel, your saliva will assist in remineralization. The enamel requires phosphate, calcium, and fluoride minerals for tooth strengthening. Saliva conveys the required mineral and material to the enamel surface.

    Wound Care

    If you have a canker sore or unintentionally bite your lip, saliva can assist in speeding up your healing. Saliva assists in repairing and regenerating damaged tissue since it is packed with vascular and epidermal endothelial growth factors.

    Saliva Produces Healthy Plaque

    As far as oral health is concerned, most people associate plaque with the bad. However, a healthy plaque biofilm exists and is produced by immune proteins in saliva.

    Once a tooth is cleaned of debris or plaque, the tooth enamel becomes covered with a salivary protein known as a pellicle. This assists in attracting free-floating bacteria in the mouth, accumulating into large clumps that are easier to dispose of whenever you swallow saliva. Imagine bacteria as particles of sand. Sweeping them into a pile before disposal is more efficient than disposing of them particle by particle). The pellicle has the added advantage of safeguarding teeth from acid demineralization.

    Saliva as a Critical Medical Diagnostic Element

    Scientists, dentists, and doctors agree that saliva is a critical diagnostic tool since it enables these professionals to carry out large-scale epidemiologic studies and infection screening. Saliva is useful for screening and testing various forms of diseases like allergies, diabetes, cancer, HIV, et cetera. It contains bookmarks like antibodies, electrolytes, RNA/DNA, and proteins. As a diagnostic element, saliva is beneficial in the following ways:

    It Makes Dentures Stable and Secure

    Saliva is essential in forming suction between dentures and gum tissue, making the dentures secure and stable. If you wear dentures, you need not worry about them because saliva stabilizes and secures them in place.

    However, as you age, your salivary flow rate may decrease. In this case, you want to consult your dental professional for supplements to boost the salivary flow rate and stabilize the dentures for a longer time. As mentioned, saliva is also a crucial lubricant. It prevents abrasion and irritation of the gum tissue beneath the dentures, keeping them stable and secure for more extended service.

    Saliva Supports the Oral Microbiome

    Saliva is an essential factor in the proper balance of bad-to-good microbes in the mouth. The mucins and macromolecule proteins in the saliva destroy, aggregate, and cling to particular types of bacteria. In particular, mucins can prevent bacteria from attaching to the surfaces in your mouth and stop those bacteria from building up in a given place. These functions maintain the oral microbiome and prevent pathogens (cariogenic or cavity-causing bacteria) from spreading throughout the mouth.

    How to Avoid Dry Mouth

    Seeing that saliva has many benefits, everyone needs to produce enough of it. Unfortunately, some people do not produce enough saliva, a condition called dry mouth or xerostomia.

    When you do not have adequate saliva, tooth decay and gum disease develop easily since your mouth will become vulnerable to infections from fungus, yeast, and bacteria. Bad breath occurs frequently, and digesting and swallowing food becomes more challenging. Additionally, you will experience the uncomfortable feeling of a dry mouth, including a swollen tongue and gums.

    Particular health conditions like diabetes and Sjogren’s syndrome can result in dry mouth and more prevalent things such as dehydration, mouth breathing, and smoking. Several medications can lead to dry mouth, including medications for depression, anxiety, asthma, high blood pressure, and allergies.

    The following practices can help you address dry mouth:

    Find a Reliable Dental Professional Near Me

    Saliva undoubtedly has many benefits for our oral and dental health. As we have seen, too little saliva in the mouth poses risks. That is why you should always pay attention if you start to notice problems with saliva production. You want to consult a dental professional as soon as possible. 

    At The Lakewood Dentist, our patients’ comfort is our priority. We pride ourselves on offering quality, affordable dental care. We are here to address all your oral health care problems and advise on your general wellness. Schedule your next dental appointment with us by calling 562-423-1441.

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    Find a Dentists Near Me

    Your smile is one of your defining features, and you should trust your oral and general health to an upstanding dental practice. The experienced team at The Lakewood Dentist is happy to be your family’s primary resource for practical and gentle dental services. With the proper care, you can enjoy a healthy, beautiful, and lasting smile, and we are excited to assist you in reaching your goals! Whether your smile needs restorative care to repair damaged teeth, cosmetic care to enhance your smile’s appearance, or you are looking for a new dentist to care for your family, we have your ultimate solution.

    Our friendly dentists welcome patients throughout Lakewood to discover why many choose us to meet their oral health needs. Whether you want to establish ongoing care, are new to the area, or want to discover how state-of-the-art technology can assist you feel and look your best, our practice has the technology, personalized approach, and skills you deserve. We will ensure you are comfortable during your visit.

    Contact our friendly team today at 562-423-1441 to learn more about our broad range of services and to get started!