According to Iqaluit Dental Clinic, saliva is a bodily fluid that plays a major role in oral care. Apart from breaking down particles and helping with digestion, it protects your mouth, helps to maintain strong teeth, and does a lot more. Let’s check out how saliva functions and benefits your oral health.
- Clears food debris and helps you taste food – An obvious role of saliva in oral health is clearing food debris. If you have good saliva flow, it will automatically move tony food debris from your teeth, tongue, and mouth to the digestive system. This way food particles have a fewer chance of fermenting in your oral cavity or your teeth.
Saliva also helps you taste food. Molecules that make up the food need to be made soluble so that the taste receptors on your tongue can detect their flavour. This would be impossible in many cases without saliva. The sense of taste is very important for oral and overall health since it often warns you about stale or bad food.
- Mouth lubrication – Your saliva acts as a seromucous coating. The fluid acts as a barrier between the oral mucosa and everything that enters your mouth. It lubricates those surfaces so that the floor of your mouth, cheeks, gums, and tongue aren’t irritated. Moreover, saliva lubrication helps fight harmful compounds and maintain oral hygiene.
For instance, plaque contains hydrolytic and proteolytic enzymes that can chip away at the tooth enamel and lead to tooth decay and erosion. Saliva lubrication prevents that from happening. The lubricating layer also acts as a filter against carcinogenic compounds from smoking or other chemicals that you may breathe in through your mouth.
- Supports the oral microbiome – Saliva also regulates good and bad microbes in your mouth and maintains the balance. Saliva has mucins and macromolecule proteins. These compounds gather and cling to certain types of oral bacteria. For instance, mucins in saliva prevent harmful bacteria from attaching to the roof of your mouth and other surfaces and colonizing that area. This way saliva prevents pathogens from taking over your mouth.
- Buffer acids – There are certain acids that can break down the tooth enamel with time. Those acids may come from food, beverages, or other sources. Fortunately, saliva contains urea, bicarbonate, phosphate, and amphoteric proteins and enzymes that buffer those acids. For instance, bicarbonate neutralizes acid on your teeth by covering the dental plaque.
It also indirectly creates amines that further act as buffers to bring down the acidity in your mouth. That’s why you should beware of dry mouth. Without an adequate saliva flow rate, those compounds won’t be able to provide a buffer to protect the enamel.
Iqaluit Dental Clinic suggests that you book an appointment with your dentist or family physician if you have too little or excess saliva secretion in your mouth. Those conditions may be a side effect of existing medicines you take, an overactive salivary gland, or due to some other condition.