You may not give your saliva much thought unless you have to spit something out of your mouth or wipe away drool after an afternoon nap, and most people don’t make any connection between saliva and the dentist. Still other patients take their saliva for granted until they develop a problem with dry mouth.
Even though it may have a bit of an ick factor, saliva plays a significant role in maintaining your oral health. If you don’t have adequate saliva, you may end up making extra visits to the dental office for treatments of various oral health problems.
If you don’t have adequate saliva, you may end up making extra visits to the dental office for treatments of various oral health problems.
Produced by the salivary glands, this clear liquid has a consistency similar to water, which helps it to clear away debris that might otherwise stick around in the oral cavity. Patients may notice a lack of saliva upon waking up in the morning or as a result of taking certain medications or undergoing treatments for health conditions like head and neck cancer.
Patients who don’t have enough saliva face the risk of an increased presence of oral bacteria. If you are having problems with dry mouth, be sure to discuss it at your next visit at the dental office. Your dentist can recommend an artificial saliva product if necessary or make other suggestions that patients can follow to stimulate saliva production.
If you fail to address the lack of saliva, those oral bacteria can go haywire in your mouth, causing cavities and gum disease and all of the problems associated with both. This bacteria can also cause bad breath, which is why halitosis and xerostomia (dry mouth) often go hand in hand.
Not only does saliva clear away bacteria, it also contains certain minerals that have a protective quality and strengthen the teeth. At the same time, saliva helps you to process foods that are harder and more difficult to chew. Those foods also tend to be healthier.
Dry mouth can have serious consequences for your oral health. If you’ve noticed that this condition is a problem for you, discuss it with our dental team and ask about recommended treatments.