Importance of your Spit
You can produce enough saliva to fill two bathtubs a year 0.7 liters of saliva is produced each day!
Saliva, or spit, plays a significant role in maintaining oral health. It is derived from blood and acts as the bloodstream of the mouth.
What this means is; like blood, saliva helps build and maintain the health of soft and hard tissues.
When your saliva flow is reduced oral health problems such as tooth decay and other oral infections can occur. Chewing is the most efficient way to stimulate salivary flow. It causes muscles to compress the salivary glands and release saliva.
- Washes away food and debris from teeth and gums
- Helps moisten and break down food to ease swallowing and enhances ability to taste
- Provides disease-fighting substances throughout your mouth to help prevent cavities and other infections
- Helps keep the surface of your teeth strong by providing high levels of calcium, fluoride and phosphate ions at the tooth surface.
In addition to keeping your mouth healthy, saliva may contain indicators of health concerns as well. Since it shares many properties with blood, the use of saliva to detect and diagnose oral diseases and other diseases that could affect your general health is being studied. Researchers have reported promising results in the use of saliva for the diagnosis of breast cancer, oral cancers, gum disease and viral hepatitis. Saliva is already used for rapid HIV testing.
What causes lack of saliva in my mouth?
A dry mouth can occur when the salivary glands in your mouth don’t produce enough saliva.
This is often the result of dehydration, which means you don’t have enough fluid in your body to produce the saliva you need. It’s also common for your mouth to become dry if you’re feeling anxious or nervous.
A dry mouth can sometimes be caused by an underlying problem or medical condition, such as:
- medication – many different medications can cause a dry mouth, including antidepressants, antihistamines and diuretics; check the leaflet that comes with your medicine to see if dry mouth is listed as a side effect
- a blocked nose – breathing through your mouth while you sleep can cause it to dry out
- Diabetes – a lifelong condition that causes a person’s blood sugar level to become too high
- Radiotherapy to the head and neck – this can cause the salivary glands to become inflamed (mucositis)
- Sjogren’s syndrome – a condition where the immune system attacks and damages the salivary glands
Here are some simple measures you can try:
It may help to:
- increase your fluid intake – take regular sips of cold water or an unsweetened drink
- suck on sugar-free sweets or chew sugar-free gum – this can stimulate your salivary glands to produce more saliva
- suck on ice cubes – the ice will melt slowly and moisten your mouth
- avoid alcohol (including alcohol-based mouthwashes), caffeine and smoking – these can all make a dry mouth worse
When you see your dentist, let them know about any other symptoms you’re experiencing and any medical treatments you’re having, as this will help them work out why your mouth is dry and offer solutions to help you.
We want your mouth to feel Spit-acular!
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