How Saliva Benefits Oral Health
Saliva is a body liquid that is secreted by several glands in the mouth. The importance of saliva and salivary glands are often overlooked. Not many know how much saliva aids healthy oral care. Yes. Saliva and oral health go hand in hand.
Saliva, as a liquid secretion from our body, is mostly made of water. Apart from water, it contains electrolytes, mucus, and antibacterial compounds. It also contains important enzymes that helps digestion and benefits oral health.
How is saliva generated?
Saliva is secreted by salivary glands that sit behind the cheek and bottom of the mouth. There are three major salivary glands – the parotid, submandibular, and sublingual. There are actually six major salivary glands along with hundreds of minor ones. These glands produce the maximum amount of saliva. The tubes through which saliva moves are called salivary ducts. An average human makes around 2 to 4 pints of saliva every day. The viscosity of saliva depends on the presence of these components.
Saliva and Oral Health
Saliva forms the integral component to oral health. There are several important reasons why saliva secretes.
- Saliva is basically formed to keep your mouth moist. It also assists in lubricating oral cavity tissues.
- Saliva also helps chewing, tasting, and swallowing.
- The antiseptic properties of saliva help fight germs and bad breath.
- The proteins and minerals present in saliva protect tooth enamel. It also prevents tooth decay and other gum diseases. It has a role in keeping dentures in place.
- Saliva promotes teeth remineralization by increasing the release of calcium and phosphate ions in mouth.
- The compounds in saliva have a role in oral environment. They help maintain a neutral pH environment in mouth.
Saliva and Digestive Health
- Apart from oral health, saliva also assists in digestion. Since mouth is the initial stage of digestion the enzymes in saliva aids in digesting and diluting the dietary carbohydrates. It also buffers acid after a sugar exposure.
- Saliva also aids in removing food debris and other harmful bacteria in the oral cavity and mechanically cleans the teeth. Reduced salivary flow is the reason for many oral issues.
- When there is a decreased function of the salivary glands, it leads to dry, burning mouth. This hinders the ability to swallow, taste and maintain oral hygiene.
Thus, the role of saliva in maintaining oral health is inevitable. Increased salivary glands function improves the overall health of your mouth and digestion. If you feel your mouth dry, try these dry mouth remedies; but if no home remedies work, consult your dentist. Also eat vegetables, fruits and drink enough water to keep yourself hydrated.