Saliva, that watery substance secreted by our salivary glands in the mouth is not just useful in keeping our mouths moist. Every day, almost 50 ounces of saliva is produced. Though we do not generally spare it much thought, saliva plays a very important role in maintaining our oral health.
Functions of Saliva
Here is a look at some of the functions your saliva performs that you probably didn’t know about.
Prevents Diseases and Decay
Saliva helps to prevent tooth decay and gum diseases. The thin film of saliva that covers our teeth helps to protect them from bacteria.
Moreover, it washes away the small bits and pieces of food that may get stuck in the gaps between teeth and may often lead to tooth cavities.
Although saliva consists of 98% water, it also contains some enzymes and minerals which can rebuild the enamel of the teeth and neutralizes acids that can erode the enamel away.
It forms the first line of defense against diseases that can enter our body orally. It has antibodies, which help in fighting various harmful bacteria and virus.
Helps in Taste
Saliva helps maintain the pH of the mouth within a neutral range (6-7).
Gustin, secreted by saliva, helps in the development of taste buds. Saliva is essential for taste. Once the food is eaten and broken down, the chemicals in the food dissolve in saliva. These chemicals then reach the taste receptors, and we can taste the food.
People with reduced saliva may find their tasting abilities significantly reduced.
It is easier to swallow and chew food because of saliva. It moistens the food and facilitates its easy passage down from the mouth and down the food pipe.
Wounds and cuts on the inside of the mouth heal more quickly than injuries on the outside body. This is attributed to saliva, which has healing agents in its composition.
Determining your Health based on your Saliva
Besides its functions in maintaining perfect oral health, the amount or taste of saliva in your mouth can be useful indicators of your body conditions.
Signs of Danger
Additionally, your saliva may give you the first warning signs of a variety of ailments (Illness o otra palabra) and diseases.
Little or almost no saliva can be dangerous. This condition, known as dry mouth, may result in rapid tooth decay and cause gum diseases. Dry mouth may be indicative of diseases like HIV/AIDS, Diabetes, Parkinson’s.
Often, it is an indication that the body is dehydrated and needs water.
Similarly, too much saliva all the time may indicate certain diseases like cerebral palsy, Lou Gehrig’s disease. Excess saliva secretion may also happen during pregnancy.
Saliva should generally be watery. If saliva appears white and clumpy, an oral infection may be the reason.
You may not spare much thought to your saliva expect the time you are really craving for good, but it does help to maintain our oral health and make life easier for us. It is an invincible part of maintaining a healthy body.