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The Role Saliva Plays In Cleaning Your Teeth

by Andre Daniels

When you think of saliva, the thought probably does not trigger pleasant thoughts or sensations in your mind; however, you might be surprised to find out that saliva plays a huge role in oral care. Here are several things you should know about saliva and the way it helps keep your teeth clean and healthy.

What Is Saliva For?

Saliva is present in your mouth for several key reasons, and it is produced by glands inside your mouth. When you chew or suck on things, it triggers these glands to produce saliva. The saliva produced helps you taste and swallow food you eat, and it prevents your mouth from drying out.

On top of all these roles, saliva also works as a natural cleanser for your teeth. It has the ability to flush bacteria out of your mouth, and it can help keep plaque off your teeth. Each time you eat, the saliva produced is actually performing a self-cleaning service to your teeth, and this helps prevent cavities.

How Can You Make Sure You Have Enough?

If you ever experience feelings of a dry mouth, there is a chance your body is not producing enough saliva. If you can relate to this, you may want to chew sugar-free gum after eating. The gum will help trigger the glands to produce saliva, and this will help. Another option is to suck on hard candies, as long as you choose sugar-free options. Hard candy will also trigger your glands to produce more saliva.

If dry mouth continues to be a problem for you, you may want to talk to your dentist about it. You may have a condition known as xerostomia, and this condition can be caused by a number of things.

How Is Xerostomia Treated?

Having xerostomia can put you at risk for having bad breath and developing more cavities. Saliva does not only help decrease the risks of developing cavities, but it also assists in keeping breath fresh. If you have this condition, the first step in treating it will be determining what is causing it. Medication is a common cause of xerostomia, but this is not something you might be able to change. Other causes of xerostomia include illnesses, smoking, and dehydration.

Once your dentist determines the cause, he or she may have some suggestions as to how to treat it. Treating this condition is vital if you want to keep your teeth healthy.

If you have any questions about the health of your teeth and mouth, schedule an appointment with a general dentist today.