Saliva and Oral Health

Drinking water is good for your salivary glands.

Saliva is an essential fluid for maintaining your oral health. Ask anyone who has chronic dry mouth and they’ll tell you that saliva is vital! So what is saliva and how is it made? Here is a summary from our Sacramento dentists.

Saliva is secreted by the salivary glands in your mouth and throat. The primary glands are the parotid, submandibular, and sublingual glands. Tiny salivary glands are also found in your lips, cheeks and the lining of your mouth and throat. If you stay hydrated by drinking fluids throughout the day, your glands will function properly and keep your mouth healthy.

But What Is Saliva?

Some call it drool, spit, or dribble, but no matter the name, it is a special fluid with unique properties derived from your own blood. Without enough saliva, the mouth suffers. Consequences of too little saliva production range from being a small annoyance, like bad breath or dry mouth, to the disastrous, like tooth decay or periodontitis. Saliva protects our teeth by rinsing away food particles from between the teeth and gums and killing germs. It also helps rebuild the enamel by supplying calcium and phosphate to each tooth surface.

What Else Is It Good For?

Saliva is also used as a diagnostic tool to detect disease. Researchers have found that saliva can be used to detect HIV, certain cancers, and hepatitis. But what if you make too much saliva? Hypersalivation is the opposite of dry mouth and occurs for many reasons. Women may experience an increase in saliva production due to hormonal changes from pregnancy. Saliva production may also increase because of symptoms from liver disease or an oral infection. If you experience hypersalivation, most patients find it helpful to brush their teeth or use a mouth rinse because this has a drying effect and slows down a watering mouth.

When you visit our Sacramento dentists for your semi-annual cleaning, they perform a complete examination of your mouth, screening for oral cancer and checking your salivary glands to make sure they’re doing their job. These check-ups are important, so don’t skip your scheduled dental exams! Make an appointment today with our downtown Sacramento dental office.

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