The Importance of Your Saliva

You may not realize it, but your saliva is keeping you healthy! Saliva plays a role in digestion by chemically breaking down food (along with the mechanical action of chewing). It is also part of your immune system, as there are important molecules in saliva that have an antimicrobial effect. After you are finished eating, your saliva plays a vital part in helping to wash away food particles and chemically neutralize changes in the acidity of your mouth.

When your body is not making enough saliva you will experience a dry mouth. The medical term for this condition is xerostomia. This is an important condition to treat because it may lead to rampant dental decay–not to mention it is very uncomfortable! Dry mouth has many causes, which may include medical conditions, certain medications, dehydration, or lifestyle choices. Dry mouth is often addressed with special mouthwashes, chewing sugar free gum, and hydrating. If a medical condition or medication is suspected, a referral to a medical doctor may be necessary. Oral appliances such as partial dentures and Invisalign aligners do not allow saliva to reach certain parts of your mouth. It is extremely important to remove these appliances after eating to ensure proper cleansing of these areas. Please let your dentist know if you are experiencing dry mouth or have any questions about oral hygiene!

Cheers,
Dr. Gordon

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