Saliva production is essential to a healthy smile, and while everyone reaps the benefit of healthy saliva production, not everyone knows what goes into it. Saliva is a clear liquid produced by the glands in your mouth, known as salivary glands. Saliva is made up mainly of water which travels to the mouth through tubes called salivary ducts. In addition to water, saliva also has protective components including mucus, glycoproteins, electrolytes, enzymes, and antibacterial compounds.
Saliva is an important part of your healthy smile, as it keeps teeth healthy and strong. Staying hydrated helps ensure adequate production, which is important since it protects tooth enamel by coating the teeth in calcium and other minerals that are good for your teeth. It also dilutes the acid in the mouth that erode the teeth, and washes away any oral debris in the mouth, including bacterial plaque. In addition, saliva also has substances in it that helps fight oral bacteria and disease.
To maintain a healthy smile, you want to remove the bacteria in your mouth regularly with brushing and flossing. If you don’t, it will result in plaque which creates acids that erode the tooth enamel, and you end up with cavities. Saliva contains molecules (calcium and phosphate) that neutralize the acid. If you drink water with fluoride in it, or use fluoride containing toothpaste or mouthwash, this fluoride can also remain in the saliva, protecting the tooth enamel. This is also known as remineralization. Generally, saliva washes away oral debris, like food particles, cleaning off your teeth after you eat and drink, which would otherwise feed the bacteria in your mouth.
Properly balancing saliva production with daily oral care and regular dental visits all work to remineralize and protect your teeth. If you have any questions or concerns, we invite you to come in and visit with one of our dedicated dentists, Drs. Jared Doman, Derrik Stark, Burke Jardine, and Nicholas Andros. You can reach our Smiles Dental team in Longview, Washington by calling 360.200.6995 today!