Do you know how saliva is so important? In our body, it plays such a significant role. Read on to know the role and importance of saliva in your body.
Thanks to its special nature, Saliva enables many natural, day-to-day activities. You’d miss the feeling of a delicious meal without saliva activating the taste buds. Moreover, it will not only be difficult to chew and swallow, but also toxic. So what’s saliva and why is saliva so important?
Where Does Saliva Come From?
Hundreds of microscopic salivary glands are covered in the mouth, nose, tongue, lips, and even the speech box. These tiny salivary glasses help release fluid in the mouth and hold it. But when it comes to salivary flow, the main salivary glands lift most heavily. 90.0 percent of your saliva is derived from three large salivary glands in your cheeks, jaws, and floors of your mouth. These glands—parotid, sublingual, and submandibular—produce saliva and flow through the ducts into your mouth.
What Is Saliva Made Of?
Every day a healthy individual produces six hundred milliliters of saliva and almost 99% of saliva is water. There are a variety of ingredients in the remaining 1 percent such as sodium, calcium, magnesium, potassium, immunoglobulin, proteins, enzymes, and mucins. These saliva components perform special roles that are vital to maintaining your wellbeing, though just a small proportion of them.
After water, proteins are the second leading portion of saliva. While proteins only make up a fraction of the composition of saliva, they perform various roles. Proteins function to remove oral bacteria in the first place, leading to the development of a defensive skin on your teeth. They are also designed to help flavor by the contact of your mouth’s taste receptors.
You might compare mucin with the mucus buildup that develops when you have a cough, but the mucin contained in saliva helps digestion. This particular protein helps you easily feed and swallow by keeping your mouth lubricated.
Electrolytes, including calcium, phosphorous, and magnesium, are minerals in the body. These unique minerals within your mouth help reinforce and harden your enamel, which in turn helps reduce your chances of cavities.
The enzymes present in saliva are unique proteins that are responsible for triggering your body’s chemical reactions that help initiate the digestive process. These enzymes help break down starches and fats in your mouth, for instance.
Importance Of Saliva in Your Body
To help you chew, speak, and keep your mouth clean every day all the components of saliva work together. Here are some of the many saliva functions:
- To defend against cavities
- Washing food debris away
- Allowing you to taste and swallow
- Making your teeth solid
What’s more, in diagnosing health issues, saliva may play a valuable role. Doctors will now use saliva to screen for HIV infection and will be able to use it to diagnose oral cancer and genetic diseases in the immediate future.
Since saliva is so vital to your oral and general health, if you suffer from poor saliva supply, also known as dry mouth, it is important to contact your dentist or doctor. The ADA notes that sucking on candy or gum free from sugar will induce the development of saliva. However, if the condition continues, you can seek health advice to stop the occurrence of more severe issues, such as tooth decay.
What is xerostomia (dry mouth)?
There’s not enough saliva produced by some people. This disorder, more generally called dry mouth, is known as xerostomia. Gum disease and tooth decay occur quickly when you do not have enough saliva, as your mouth becomes vulnerable to infections from bacteria, yeast, and fungi. It becomes difficult to swallow and absorb food, and poor breath also occurs. In addition, you will have the unpleasant sensation of a dry mouth, like swollen gums and tongue.
Dry mouth can be caused by some health conditions, such as Sjögren’s syndrome and diabetes. As well as more common problems like vomiting, smoking, and mouth breathing, cancer therapies can cause dry mouth. And hundreds of drugs, including allergies, high blood pressure, asthma, anxiety, and depression, will render dry mouths.
Reasons for Dry Mouth
- It is most often used as a side effect of any medicine taken by the patient.
- Radiation therapy or chemotherapy in cancers of the head and neck is the most common cause of dry mouth.
- Any killing of salivary tissue may also be a cause (submandibular, parotid and sublingual are the glands which basically secrete saliva)
Dry mouth treatments
Every day, drink plenty of water. Dehydration decreases the production of saliva.
Speak to your doctor to check if you’re taking a dry mouth medicine.
Chew sugar-free gum and add candy or mint sugar-free. You can create more saliva here.
Every day maintains proper dental attention by brushing and flossing. Ask your dentist if you would benefit from a prescription fluoride toothpaste or fluoride rinse.
Check with the dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings to help avoid complications by spotting them early.
See the doctor if there are white patches in your mouth or sore spots.
Ask your doctor for artificial saliva. He or she can prescribe a rinse or spray to help keep your mouth moist.
Avoid foods that are salty, spicy, or acidic—they can dry and irritate your mouth. You will also want to avoid coffee or alcohol drinks that may dry your mouth, too. Choose soft and smooth foods and make sauces or broth moist foods.
Saliva ensures the well being of the mouth and preserves oral mucosa most significantly. So just stay hydrated, stay safe.