Spit: Why We Need It

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Family Dentists near O'Fallon ILDid you know that you will likely produce enough saliva in your lifetime to fill two swimming pools? There is a reason our bodies produce spit, and understanding the consequences when there is not enough is very important. Adequate levels of saliva in your mouth will not only keep you comfortable while swallowing or speaking, but it plays a vital role in the health of your teeth and gums too. Saliva helps wash away food and bacteria in your mouth and neutralizes oral acids, which is essentially a cavity fighting capability. The proteins and minerals in our spit protect your tooth enamel and prevent infections such as gum disease.

Now that you understand the profound benefits of your spit, you can appreciate the concern it brings when you don’t have enough. Dry mouth can put you at up to 3 times a greater risk for cavities as well as result in chronic bad breath. Human saliva may be 99.5% water, but the other .5% of saliva’s makeup is becoming more and more promising in predicting other serious health conditions. Recent research studies have found a positive link between certain bacteria in your saliva and pancreatic cancer, stomach cancer and diabetes.

There are a number of reasons that could be causing your mouth to be dry, including the following:

• Prescription medications or taking multiple medications
• Chemotherapy and radiation
• Certain diseases like diabetes, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s or autoimmune disease
• Anxiety
• Stroke
• Tobacco Use
• Open mouth breathing

Regardless of your cause or whether you can control it, dry mouth is still a condition that needs to be addressed. Ignoring dry mouth can lead to more serious and costly oral health problems. Your dentist can suggest a treatment plan to combat your ongoing battle with dry mouth and ensure your teeth and gums maintained properly.

Your dentist may recommend products such as special mouth sprays, dry mouth moisturizing lubricants, oral rinse and toothpastes to help your condition. Chewing sugar free gum can also help stimulate the production of saliva. If you are finding that water isn’t enough to keep your mouth wet, consult your dentist for help – it can mean a more comfortable and healthy smile!

Posted on behalf of Dr. Sarah Thompson, Soft Touch Dentistry

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Soft Touch Dentistry
1214 Paragon Drive
O’Fallon, IL 62269
Phone: (618) 622-5050