Today we would like to talk a little bit about saliva in the healthy functioning of your mouth. Most people know how important the teeth and gums are for a healthy smile, but saliva is an underrated star player in this game! And we would like to change that.
What does Saliva do for your smile?
Saliva washes away food particles, moistens and breaks down your food, and helps you taste and swallow, all while producing disease-fighting agents which prevent tooth decay and oral infections. It also secretes high levels of calcium, fluoride and phosphate ions which directly benefit your teeth.
What is saliva made from, and how is it released into the mouth?
Saliva is created from blood and maintains the healthy soft and hard tissues in the mouth. Insufficient saliva production actually increases your risk of tooth decay. There are three salivary glands on each side of your mouth:
- The parotid gland up high in your cheek, secreting saliva just above your upper molars.
- The submandibular gland lies deep in your jawbone alongside your bottom teeth, secreting saliva beneath the tongue.
- The sublingual gland sits beneath the tip of your tongue, secreting saliva near the front of your tongue’s bottom surface.
How do we maintain a proper level of saliva production?
The most effective way to create saliva production is to chew, as this action causes the muscles to compress and release saliva. Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated, such as water, and watch your caffeine intake to make sure your saliva is producing properly. You can also chew sugar-free gum or mints to stimulate saliva production. Our dentist may also prescribe artificial saliva rinse or spray to help moisten your mouth.
To find out more about your oral health, or if you would like to schedule an appointment, please call Northwest Dental Associates in Medford, Oregon, at 541-779-3993 today. Dr. Bryan and Dr. Davis and our team are always ready to help you achieve a healthy smile!