Saliva: Nothing to Spit At
Saliva plays an important role in maintaining oral health. The mouth has six major salivary glands, while your mouth and throat have hundreds of minor ones, all of which deliver saliva by way of salivary ducts. Every time you chew food or suck on candy, your body makes more saliva.
Composed mostly of water, saliva plays an important role in maintaining a healthy mouth and smile. It contains vital substances that help digest food and keep teeth strong. Although you probably don’t spend much time thinking about it, saliva
- helps you chew and swallow by moistening and breaking down food
- washes away particles of food from teeth and gums
- provides proteins and minerals to help prevent cavities and other infections
- delivers high levels of calcium, fluoride and phosphate to the surface of your teeth
- prevents bad breath
Because saliva does so much to keep your mouth healthy, a reduced saliva flow causes dry mouth; it can lead to cavities and other oral health problems. Diabetes, mouth-breathing, dehydration, cerebral palsy and chemotherapy, along with a wide range of medications—including medication for severe acne—can lead to dry mouth. Although dry mouth is much more common in older adults, children, too, may experience it.
Left untreated, dry mouth can lead to bad breath, tooth decay and gum disease. If your child or teenager has too little saliva in his or her mouth, we might recommend drinking more water, chewing sugar-free gum or sucking on sugar-free candy, all of which help to stimulate saliva production.
If your child complains of dry mouth, tell Dr. Jared so he can assess his or her condition. Addressing this problem early on can head off tooth decay and other oral health problems.
Click here to schedule an appointment with Dr. Jared. Or give us a call at (509)-891-7070.