The Important Role Saliva Plays in Oral Health

Although saliva is not particularly pleasant to think about, it is an important element of your oral health. It helps us digest our food and also helps control bacteria in the mouth. If you experience any changes in saliva production, you should consult with your dentist to diagnose the underlying problem.

What Saliva Does

Saliva is produced in the salivary glands in your mouth, and it consists mostly of water. However, it also contains various substances that help get digestion underway and that also help control the bacteria that builds up in your mouth. Controlling this bacteria keeps you from developing chronic halitosis and also helps prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Saliva also keeps the mucus membranes in your mouth moist so that your mouth feels comfortable.

If your salivary glands produce too much or not enough saliva, you can become uncomfortable and experience unpleasant side effects. Insufficient salivary production is known as dry mouth, or xerostomia. Dry mouth can cause extreme discomfort as your oral tissues lose moisture and develop sores or cracks. It can also lead to bad breath and tooth decay. Causes of dry mouth include issues like diabetes or HIV. It can also be a side effect of certain medications.

Excessive saliva is rarely a serious problem. However, if you experience excessive, persistent drooling, you should consult with your dentist. It could be a malfunctioning salivary gland or a reaction to a medication you are taking.

Treating Salivary Irregularities

Problems with saliva production can be difficult to diagnose because the normal range of saliva varies from one person to another. If you are uncomfortable, however, you should talk to your dentist. If you have dry mouth, you might need to adjust medications you are taking or take an over the counter or prescription medication that can supplement your natural saliva or stimulate additional saliva production. For excessive saliva production, our dentist at Bliss Dental might recommend treatment such as Botox injections or removal of an overactive salivary gland.  Call 972-307-7777 for more information about your oral health today.

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