Saliva is more than just an agent of digestion. Do you know that it also helps your teeth stay healthy?
How? Read on to learn more.
How does saliva help the teeth?
Saliva is a liquid composed of water, mucus, protein, and the enzyme amylase (helps in digestion of starch). Saliva is produced by the soft tissues in the mouth such as the lips, cheeks, and tongue.
A thin film of saliva covers the teeth. This film contains antimicrobial agents, which target streptococcus bacteria, or the decay-causing bacteria. Food debris stuck in the teeth is also swept away by saliva.
Saliva is also involved in the remineralisation process ,which is the rebuilding of corroded tooth enamel through minerals found in saliva.
What happens when there isn’t enough saliva?
When the amount of saliva in the mouth decreases, the condition is called dry mouth or xerostomia. At first, the results are minor. Cavities don’t immediately set in. However, when prolonged dry mouth encourages the growth of bacteria, it leads to bad breath, decay, and gum disease.
Common Causes Of Dry Mouth
The following are the common causes of dry mouth.
Medications – there are certain medications that have negative side effects such as dry mouth. Those who take medications to manage depression, anxiety, and high blood pressure are vulnerable to dry mouth. Even some OTC drugs such as antihistamines, decongestants, muscle relaxants, and pain relievers are known to cause temporary dry mouth.
Lifestyle – the risks of having a dry mouth are higher for those who smoke and are regular alcoholic drinkers. Chewing tobacco is also included in the high-risk list.
Ageing – the body’s immune system slows as one approaches the golden years. Coupled with an unhealthy lifestyle, diseases such as dry mouth become more likely to happen.
Dehydration – Decrease of water intake triggered by fever, excessive sweating, burns, vomiting, or blood loss can lead to dehydration and eventually, a dry mouth.
Medical problems – dry mouth is also associated with patients suffering from Sjogren’s syndrome, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, and sleep apnoea.
Symptoms Of Dry Mouth
The first symptom of dry mouth is the unusual dry feeling. It is also associated with the following symptoms.
- Stickiness in the mouth
- Frequent thirst
- Thick and stringy saliva
- Bad breath
- Dry or sore throat
- Cracked lips
- Dry, red, or grooved tongue
- Difficulty in wearing your denture
- Difficulty in chewing, speaking or swallowing
Treatment and Remedies for Dry Mouth
The best way to prevent dry mouth is drinking the appropriate amount of water. Keep yourself hydrated. Eat mouth friendly foods coupled with a well-rounded diet for better oral health.
We at Caringbah Dental Care provide personalised oral hygiene instructions based on your oral health status. Embrace our preventative dentistry services for healthier and brighter pearly whites.
Better Oral Health At Caringbah Dental Care
It’s always better at Caringbah Dental Care! We are passionate about your oral health and are willing to go the extra mile to help you achieve your dream smile.
Talk to us today!
Call (02) 9524 7047 or visit us at Shop 3/10-20 Mackay St in Caringbah