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Why is Saliva Important?

Have you ever stopped to think about your saliva? Probably not.

While saliva is something we constantly deal with, most of us never stop to think about what its purpose truly is.

Saliva actually has a few responsibilities in keeping your mouth and body healthy. Let’s take a look at a few different facts about saliva and why it is so important for your health.

Why is Saliva So Important?

Although saliva is mostly made up of water, it actually works hard to help make your life easier. Not only does saliva help you chew, taste, and swallow, it also keeps your mouth moist and comfortable, fighting germs and preventing bad breath.

Saliva also contains different proteins and minerals. These proteins and minerals help to protect tooth enamel while also protecting against gum disease and tooth decay.

How is Saliva Produced?

Saliva is produced in the salivary glands, which are located along your cheeks, at the bottom of your mouth, and near your front teeth. These glands produce saliva when you are chewing.

On average, your body will produce between 2 and 4 pints of saliva each day. However, the amount of saliva you produce will be dependent on your lifestyle, your body, and other outside influences, such as your diet.

What Happens If You’re Not Producing Enough Saliva?

Dry mouth is a condition where you’re not producing enough saliva. Dry mouth can often be a side effect of certain medications, but may also be a result of dehydration or from smoking cigarettes.

If you suffer from dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, you may notice some swelling in your gums and tongue. Not only can this lead to bad breath, but can also allow germs to grow more quickly. This means dry mouth may lead to periodontal disease and tooth decay.

Drinking plenty of water or chewing sugar-free gum can help you produce more saliva to combat dry mouth.

It’s always important to see your dentist to ensure you’re taking proper care of your teeth and gums. If you’re due for an appointment with Dr. Anderson, call our Kansas City office at 816.454.3336 today.

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