Saliva is a beautiful thing.

Dr. Matt here. Saliva is the watery secretion in our mouths that comes from the glands. The primary glands are located under the tongue (submandibular) and in the cheeks (parotid). There are also many minor secretory glands.

Saliva’s functions are tasting, chewing and swallowing of foods, moistens the mouth and starts the digestion of starches (carbohydrates). Saliva is made of mucus, the enzyme amylase (digestive enzyme for starches), many proteins and mineral salts. Normal flow rates for saliva is 1-1-5 liters per day. A stimulated flow rate of 1milliliter per minute or greater (more than a teaspoon). If you were to chew paraffin wax a to test your rate you should be able to spit out 5 milliliters in 5 minutes. Too often people do not have enough saliva. Saliva has a reparative process for the teeth and gums. Teeth are always changing. They are dynamic; minerals going out and minerals going back into the protective enamel surface. Every time we eat or drink changes are occurring. So if you do not have enough good saliva flow you can reach a point where the teeth are short of minerals. If the shortage continues eventually demineralization becomes a hole called a cavity. Many people report dry mouths (xerostomia). Dry mouth can be caused by many things. Necessary medications are the number one reason for dry mouth. Dehydration, Disease and infection,Smoking and Chewing tobacco, Surgical removal of salivary glands, Nerve damage, Side of effect of cancer treatment with head and neck radiation and or chemotherapy. There are many helpful ideas for dry mouth. The most important help idea is to drink a lot of water. Sugarfree chewing gum, candies (Ice Chips), lozenges all preferably with Xylitol ( a naturally occurring alcohol sugar that prevents cavities) can stimulate saliva production depending on your situation. Saliva substitutes can also be helpful, Biotene is a popular brand.

Use a fluoride toothpaste, and fluoride mouth rinse. In addition trays can be made that are similar to whitening trays to apply calcium paste to the teeth at nighttime or simply apply it with your finger like a night cream for your teeth. If you think that your mouth is dry get checked by your Dentist.

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