Saliva is an essential fluid for maintaining your oral health. What is it and how is it made? Saliva is secreted by the salivary glands (a microscopic view is shown) in your mouth and throat. The primary glands are called the parotid, submandibular, and sublingual glands. There are also many tiny glands that are found in your lips, cheeks and the lining of your mouth and throat. If you stay hydrated throughout the day, together they function properly and keep your mouth healthy.
But What Is Saliva?
Whether you call it spit, drool, dribble or saliva, it is a special fluid with unique properties derived from your own blood. Without enough saliva, the mouth suffers. Consequences of too little saliva range from annoyance, like bad breath or dry mouth, to the disastrous, such as serious oral decay or periodontitis. Many patients don’t realize that saliva protects our teeth by rinsing away food particles from between the teeth and gums, kills germs to ward off disease and rebuilds the enamel by supplying calcium and phosphate to every tooth surface.
Is That All It’s Good For?
Another interesting fact is that saliva can be used as a diagnostic tool to detect disease. Since it contains many of the same properties as blood, researchers have found that saliva can be used to detect HIV, certain cancers, and hepatitis. But what if you make too much saliva? Hypersalivation occurs for many reasons. A person may experience an increase in saliva production due to hormonal changes from pregnancy, liver disease or an oral infection. In these cases, patients find it helpful to brush their teeth or use a mouth rinse. Sometimes this has a drying effect and slows down a watering mouth.
When you visit our Placerville dentists for your semi-annual cleaning, they perform a complete examination of your mouth, screening for oral cancer and checking your salivary glands to make sure they’re in top shape. Your health is important, so don’t skip your scheduled dental exams! The Placerville Dental Group is conveniently located in downtown Placerville, so pop in at 699 Main Street, Suite B, or give us a call at 530-295-8000 to schedule your appointment today!