How Saliva Keeps Your Mouth Healthy
You probably don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the benefits of saliva. That is, unless you are one of the many patients suffering from dry mouth. Saliva actually plays an important role in your overall oral health. Full of proteins, minerals, and enzymes, saliva prevents cavities, keeps your mouth clean, and fosters a healthy digestive system, among other things. At Metropolitan Dental Care, our Lone Tree dentist can help patients who suffer from dry mouth. To learn more about our services in dentistry, including cleanings, exams, and more, contact our offices. To schedule an appointment, call us at 303.543.2626 or fill out our online form.
Why is Dry Mouth a Serious Condition?
Aside from being incredibly uncomfortable, dry mouth can cause the oral soft tissues to become swollen and appear glossy. This type of environment is conducive to the production of germs and oral bacteria, which can lead to a myriad of more serious oral health concerns, such as decay, gum disease, and chronic bad breath.
What Causes Dry Mouth?
Dry mouth can be caused by several different factors. These may include:
- Certain medications (anti-anxiety medications, antihistamines, blood pressure medication, water pills, antidepressants, and more)
- Obstruction of the salivary glands
- Radiation therapy or chemotherapy
- Stress response, such as “fight or flight”
- Anatomical abnormality affecting the salivary duct
- Smoking tobacco products
Treating Dry Mouth
If you have recently developed dry mouth, the first thing to consider is your medications. If you have started taking a new prescription drug, it could be the culprit. Talk with your medical doctor about alternatives. In some cases, simply changing your medication can improve the condition of dry mouth.
If your dry mouth is due to another factor, such as aging, genetics, or a chronic condition, try these things to encourage sufficient salivary production:
- Drink lots of water and stay hydrated.
- Chew sugarless gum.
- Keep sugarless lozenges handy.
If your issues with dry mouth continue, our Lone Tree dentist may recommend specialized over-the-counter products designed to combat these symptoms.
How Saliva Contributes to Oral Health
Saliva does plenty of amazing things to keep your mouth healthy. For example:
- Saliva keeps your mouth clean: The plaque deposits that accumulate around the teeth harbor bacteria. Saliva helps sweep away the food, debris, plaque, and bacteria that can lead to oral infection.
- Saliva helps the digestive process: Digestion begins in the mouth. Saliva includes an enzyme called amylase, which helps transform starches into sugars. Without this vital process, digestion would be far less efficient.
- Saliva keeps you comfortable: Patients with dry mouth can have significant discomfort. Saliva lubricates the oral soft tissues. This moisture helps keep you comfortable, and also aids in functions such as chewing and swallowing.
- Saliva presents cavities and gum disease: By keeping the mouth lubricated, saliva actively reduces the risk for tooth decay and periodontal disease. It also prevents sudden fluctuations in pH levels.
- Saliva has an antibacterial effect: Among the many proteins and enzymes found in saliva, there is the presence of lysozyme, lactoferrin, and peroxidase. These elements help decrease the production of pathogenic microorganisms and encourage optimal oral health.
Contact Us for More Information
If you are searching for a Lone Tree dentist, look no further than Metropolitan Dental Care. No matter what your dental concerns, we can help you determine a personalized treatment plan that will address your unique needs. To book your consultation, please give us a call at 303.534.2626 or contact us online.