Saliva plays an important role in oral hygiene. It helps break down food for easier digestion. It helps neutralize acids and wash away debris. It helps keep the mouth clean by washing away leftover food. Saliva also protects the teeth by remineralizing enamel, and its antibacterial properties protect teeth from decay.
When you eat, the salivary glands in your mouth produce saliva to wash away food residue and help break it down into smaller pieces that can be more easily digested. Without this natural process, food particles would remain in the mouth as plaque and decay the teeth. Your mouth is self-cleansing!
Saliva also protects your teeth from the effects of acid erosion. Acids from foods and drinks like sodas, coffee, or fruit juices slowly wear away at the enamel of the tooth. If your body doesn’t produce enough saliva to neutralize these acids, they can start to wear down the teeth and cause damage. This is why drinking plenty of water throughout the day is so important — it allows your mouth to produce more saliva to protect your teeth from these demineralizing effects of acidic foods and drinks.
After eating or drinking something acidic, rinsing with water can help remove the excess acid from the mouth and promote remineralization. Rinsing with mouthwash can also be effective, especially if you choose a product with fluoride in it.
Without adequate saliva, your mouth is at risk for numerous oral health problems. Saliva helps keep your mouth healthy by neutralizing acid from bacteria and washing away food particles after meals.
A dry mouth occurs when the amount of saliva in your mouth is insufficient to wash away food and neutralize acids that can damage teeth and cause cavities. A variety of factors can cause dry mouth, including certain medications and diseases (such as diabetes), smoking, stress, aging, and more.
Many patients experience dry mouth occasionally due to dehydration or eating something that dries out their mouth for a short period of time. However, if you experience chronic dry mouth because of another condition, be sure to speak with your dentist about treatments that can help restore moisture to your oral cavity. Some treatment options include:
Visit Healthy Smiles of Birmingham at 100 Heatherbrooke Park Dr Suite A, Birmingham, AL 35242, for a wonderful dental experience. Contact us at (205) 991-9535 or schedule an appointment online.