Saliva Saliva is a liquid that we are not aware of in daily life, but has a great importance on our oral health. This complex liquid form has necessary biological functions for mouth. It consists of water, organic and inorganic components. This...
Saliva is a liquid that we are not aware of in daily life, but has a great importance on our oral health. This complex liquid form has necessary biological functions for mouth. It consists of water, organic and inorganic components. This transparent liquid, which is generally paid no attention can cause serious oral health problems such as infection, xerostomia (zeer-oh-stomia) and tooth decay when there is not enough in the mouth.
Saliva is a biofluid made up of about 99 percent water. The secretion is produced by the small glands -which are known as salivary glands- in various parts of the mouth and can be produced in greater amounts by stimulating these glands. Saliva secretion is controlled by the autonomic nervous system and is produced more before/during/after meals, while lower levels of production are observed during sleep.
Functions of Saliva
Saliva basically has two main functions: The first is to protect the inside and surrounding tissues of mouth. With lubrication, these tissues become more comfortable. In addition, after consuming sugary foods/beverages, saliva dilutes sugar and makes it less usable for bacteria in mouth. Provides remineralization of tooth enamel with calcium and phosphate. Fluoride can remineralize teeth so that the minerals that are displaced can be drawn back into enamel.
The second is to support eating and speaking function. As you know, digestion starts in the mouth. First, food is broken into small pieces by chewing and passes easily through the pharynx with saliva secretion. In addition, it increases the taste of the foods and drinks consumed. It also lubricates the oral tissues such as tongue and lips, and the act of speech can be facilitated thanks to the free movement of these tissues.
Approximately 60% of an adult human body is water, and the cells are used to maintain this water for life functions. The pH of drinking water is ideal at about 7.2 and 8.5. Our cells and organs need a water-like and balanced pH level to survive. The pH (potential hydrogen) value should be neither low nor high. Saliva secretion that is too acidic or at a pH less than 7.0 will put your teeth at a higher risk of decay. If your saliva is between 6.5 and 7.5 pH values during the day (excluding sleep and nap breaks), your body has a healthy range. You can easily test whether your saliva is acidic with pH assessment strips available at pharmacies and online. If you want to prevent dental hard tissues (tooth enamel) from being remineralized due to acids in your mouth, you can check your condition with the pH test and take the necessary precautions. The basic principle is nutritional balance and drinking lots of water.
Dry mouth as a result of deficiency of saliva (Xerostomia)
Xerostomia refers to the inability of the salivary glands to produce secretion and the drying of the inside of the mouth following this. Those that cause dry mouth are mostly the side effects of the drugs used are different conditions such as diabetes, allergies, and radiation treatments.According to ADA(American Dental Association), if precautions are not taken for dry mouth, there might be loss of taste, difficulties in chewing, swallowing and in speaking; and even tooth decays, sensitive dental problems and periodontal diseases.
In the case of dry mouth,
-Plenty of water can be consumed since the main ingredient for saliva is water,
-You can chew sugar-free gum,
-You can request saliva-enhancing drugs or prescription mouthwash from your dentist,
-You can avoid alcohol and activities that may cause dehydration.
Please be aware that these suggestions may not be sufficient for dry mouth. Please consult with your dentist regarding the issue to avoid further problems.
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Saliva, Dry mouth, Xerostomia, Functions of saliva, Acidic saliva, Tooth decay