Saliva is of immense importance to digestion, taste and oral health. Here are four important properties of the saliva that protect against Tooth Erosion:
- Water is important not only for good health, hair and skin, but it also allows for adequate saliva production. Salivary glands filter water from their rich blood supply, which is the major component of saliva. The water content in the saliva helps rinse away food particles and bacteria and keep the teeth clean. Reduced saliva production as a result of dehydration or medications, decreases the rinsing effects and increases the risk for erosion and decay.
- Saliva is abundant in bicarbonate which can neutralize acid. There are several acid sources in our diet coming from food( fruit like lemons and tomatoes) and from beverage(fruit juice, vitamin C supplements and soft drinks). Most dietary acid can be neutralized by salivary bicarbonate, however some sport and soft drinks contain large quantities of acids or very strong acids which the saliva bicarbonate content cannot neutralize. When the saliva cannot neutralize the acids tooth enamel and dentin is broken down leading to cavities.
- Calcium is an important component of your saliva. These ions are secreted with water and other enzymes to prevent erosion by forming crystals with citric acid (present in some wines, citrus fruits, tomato and more). Salivary calcium ions are also essential for repairing the enamel layer that have been corroded or eroded by acids and bacteria.
- The saliva is required for food tasting and many taste receptors control the saliva production. Fresh fruits and vegetables are considered excellent salivary stimulants as they stimulate sour, bitter and salty taste receptors. As such they make up excellent components of a healthy breakfast that starts up the day with a well hydrated mouth.
Since your saliva is very important to your oral health and well being, if you feel a dry mouth and frothy saliva it is important to contact Dr. Daniel Kaufman and our team at Tooronga Family Dentistry to check the availability and quality of your saliva. There are conditions such as diabetes, anorexia nervosa, chronic dehydration, depression and alcoholism which can affect your salivary flow and need to be closely monitored. If you have more questions about saliva and it importance please don’t hesitate to contact us.