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Saliva: The Unsung Hero of Oral Health

EVER THINK ABOUT HOW GREAT your saliva is? Probably not. We’d love to enlighten you! Don’t stop reading I promise to keep this spit talk entertaining! Saliva has an all-important role in your oral and digestive health.
Saliva Has Many Important Functions

Our bodies make 2 to 4 pints of saliva a day. That means that over a lifetime, a person will create enough saliva to fill two swimming pools! So, why is saliva important? Well, there’s more than one answer to that. Besides allowing us to give wet willies or make spit wads when we were kids, our saliva has many important functions.


First, saliva aids in digestion. It begins the process of breaking down food and helps us chew, taste, and swallow. In fact, without our spit, we wouldn’t be able to taste it at all!

Additionally, saliva is essential to maintaining our oral health. Our spit contains antimicrobial agents that protect teeth and defend against bacteria. It also contains minerals such as calcium and phosphate that remineralize our teeth, strengthening the enamel.

Your saliva plays an especially important role after eating and drinking. It washes away that extra food and debris left in your mouth that contributes to decay. It also helps neutralize the acids created by bacteria that break down enamel and cause cavities. Thank you, saliva!

Some People Do Not Create Enough Saliva

Some people have a condition called dry mouth or xerostomia, where they aren’t producing enough saliva. Certain illnesses and medications can cause dry mouth, and those who have it are more prone to tooth decay and gum disease as a result. For those with and without dry mouth, here are some tips to increase saliva production and protect your teeth:
Chew sugar-free gum, especially after meals
Suck on sugarless candy
Drink plenty of water
Saliva Works Around the Clock to Protect Our Smiles

Here at McOmie Family Dentistry, we have many things we can help you obtain to get the moist mouth you desire. There are even prescription options for dry mouth.

Pilocarpine pops– This is a medication in the form of a sucker. You take this and swab it around in your mouth and it will give about two hours of moisture. This remedy requires an Rx and a compounding pharmacy.  Dr. McOmie would be happy to see you and decide if this treatment would be right for you.

Xylimelts– They are a small disk that sticks to your check and provides increased salivary flow. We have these available here at our office or you can purchase them online.

Biotene– This is a line of products that you can get at the drug store.  They have toothpaste, mouth rinse, gum, mints, etc. all to help get the moisture in your mouth you desire.

Saliva may just be the unsung hero of our oral health. It is constantly strengthening and defending our teeth against bacteria, decay, and dental disease. While at the same time playing an important role in the re-mineralization of our teeth. At the end of the day, all we can say is that our bodies are amazing and our spit is awesome!

Thanks for reading hopefully this was helpful to you! Have more questions give us a call at McOmie Family Dentistry at 423-899-1112! We would love to hear from you!

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