The Purpose of Saliva

Apr 12th, 2012 | By | Category: General Dentistry

SalivaAs a general, cosmetic, and implant dentist in Richmond, California, Dr. Stefan Moiceanu is concerned about all aspects of our patients’ dental and oral health, including saliva. Read on to find out more about this powerful and important component of your oral cavity.

What is Saliva?

Produced within and secreted from your salivary glands, saliva is a fluid consisting of water, electrolytes, mucus, and enzymes. In patients with healthy saliva flow, saliva is produced from response to reflexes triggered by taste stimulation and movements of the jaw muscles, joints, and pressure on the teeth as a result of chewing.

What does Saliva do?

The primary function of saliva is to control the environment of the mouth. Whenever you eat and drink, the sugars and starches from the substances you consume combine with the bacteria in your mouth to form acid. Within approximately seven minutes, these acids attack your tooth enamel—the hard white protective coating on each of your teeth—and begin the process of tooth decay. Saliva neutralizes this acid and helps prevent and even reverse this demineralization of your tooth enamel.

Saliva also helps to:

  • Lubricate the mouth to facilitate chewing, swallowing, and speaking
  • Cleanse the mouth and teeth of leftover food debris
  • Assist the digestive system with the breakdown of carbohydrates
  • Protect against oral infection

How can You Stimulate Your Saliva?

The best way to promote healthy saliva flow is by maintaining quality at-home dental hygiene—brushing, flossing, and rinsing with a fluoridated oral rinse—eating healthy (and crunchy) foods, drinking plenty of water, and chewing sugar-free gum with xylitol throughout the day.

A lack of saliva can be detrimental to your oral health and can signify various health problems, so contact Hilltop Family Dental if you notice that something has changed within your mouth. To reserve an appointment with Dr. Moiceanu, call (510) 758-7222 or visit us online at hilltopfamilydental.com. We serve families from Richmond, San Pablo, El Sobrante, Vallejo, Pinole, El Cerrito, Hercules, Benicia, and the greater Contra Costa County area.

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