How much do you know about the saliva production in your mouth? Did you know that a lack of healthy saliva production, your smile will suffer? Today we want to give you an overview of the role of saliva in your oral health.
What does saliva do?
Saliva washes away food particles, moistens and breaks down the foods you eat and helps you taste and swallow. Not only that, saliva produces disease-fighting agents which prevent tooth decay and oral infections. Saliva also secretes high levels of calcium, fluoride and phosphate ions that directly benefit your teeth.
What is saliva made of 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 can I maintain healthy saliva levels?
The most effective way to create saliva production is to chew, as the chewing 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 prosthodontists may provide saliva substitutes or saliva stimulants if necessary.
Are you experiencing the effects of dry mouth? Is your saliva production not what it should be? Dr. Ralph Hoffmann and our team are always ready to help you achieve a healthy smile. Please call Prosthodontics of the Carolinas in Charlotte, North Carolina, at 704-364-3770 and let us help you maintain your healthy smile!