The role saliva plays in our oral health has long been overlooked. Although composed mainly of water, it also contains substances that are crucial to:
- keep our mouth moist
- help us chew, taste, and swallow our food
- prevent bacterial build up in our mouth
- protect us from tooth decay and gum disease
- keep dentures in place
What happens if you have too little saliva?
Your mouth becomes very dry if you don’t produce enough saliva, a condition known as xerostomia. Aside from it being an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive, it can also cause swelling of the gums, tongue and other tissues. Also, tooth decay and gum disease quickly develop if a person has dry mouth as saliva’s role is to clear food debris from our teeth. Without saliva, food becomes less palatable too.
Certain factors cause dry mouth syndromes like HIV, saliva duct obstruction, chemotherapy, smoking, and dehydration. In such cases, your dentist Newport Beach will recommend that you rinse your mouth with artificial saliva. It is in the form of liquid or spray which can be bought over the counter. It can keep the mouth moist however it doesn’t have the essential substances that aid digestion.
What about too much saliva?
There’s nothing to worry if your mouth produces excess saliva. Usually, its overproduction is due to an overactive salivary gland, or it could be that you have a problem swallowing. Hypersalivation or sialorrhea are the medical terms for increased saliva production.
Your salivary glands go hyperdrive especially if you eat spicy or very sour foods. Change your diet in case your excess saliva is already bothersome.
If a change of diet doesn’t fix your excessive saliva, consult with your dentist as it could be due to a certain medication you took which triggered such extra production.
Other times, too much saliva production are caused by Lou Gehrig’s disease, Bell’s Palsy, Cerebral Palsy, Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), Enlarged tongue (macroglossia), Mental retardation, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, among others.
The important thing is, you talk to your dentist in Newport Beach Ca to find out how to maintain good oral hygiene and ensure you don’t develop dental complications whether you produce too little or too much saliva.