Have you heard of xerostomia? It is a condition in which salivary glands don’t make enough saliva to keep your mouth wet— often caused by medication side effects, age-related, or even radiation therapy to treat cancer. Saliva is ninety-nine percent water, and the rest, one percent contains substances that can help our digestion, dental health, and control of microbial growth in the mouth. Do you know our salivary glands produce 1-2 liters of saliva? If your mouth does not have enough saliva, then you may notice the following signs, such as:
- Bad breath
- Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking
- Dry or sore throat
- Taste change
- Problems wearing dentures
These signs are visible if you consume alcohol/ tobacco, recreational drugs, or other health conditions such as diabetes, stroke, yeast infection in the mouth, or autoimmune disease. Remember, dry mouth can lead to problems like sores, plaques, and conditions.
Saliva is an integral part of a healthy body. It fights germs in your mouth and helps with many other things, some of them are:
- Helps in chewing food easily
An essential role of saliva during eating is it helps in chewing food. The dry food crumbs can easily dissolve and go down the throat. It prevents our esophagus from getting damaged by rough food particles.
Digestion starts as soon as you put the food into your mouth, and chewing is the first step of the process. It prevents choking as saliva mixes with food and contains enzymes that help the stomach and intestines break down molecules.
Can you eat something without understanding its taste? No, it is hard to eat it! Taste buds lie deep down on the tongue, and a dry mouth can even further make it difficult for you to understand the taste of it. When dehydrated, it is hard to taste; the person is likely to add more sugar or salt depending on the food. So, the idea is to stay hydrated.
- Healthy teeth
It is tough to process the hardest substance in our body, i.e., enamel can decay. So, the food we eat fuels the bacteria in our mouth to decay our teeth. Saliva helps neutralize the acids by correcting pH levels in our mouths.
- Prevents dental conditions
People with dry mouths are more likely to be at risk of developing dental plaque and gum diseases.
To learn more about how to maintain good dental habits and prevent your teeth from plaque and gum diseases, it’s time you schedule an appointment with Foothill Dental Care at (925) 961-5484.