Many people believe digestion begins in your mouth when you chew, but that’s not quite true. Digestion actually begins when you smell your food and your mouth starts producing saliva. That shows how important saliva is for your digestive health, your body starts making it before you even put food in your mouth.
But digestion isn’t the only function saliva performs; it is actually very important for your oral health, as well. Overmeyer Family Dental puts a large premium on preventive dental care, and part of preventing oral health ailments is understanding how your body takes care of itself and how your mouth defends itself against tooth decay and gum disease.
In order to keep the people of Orlando, FL smiling bright, we want to use this blog to shed some light on the oral health wonders of saliva and the dangers of dry mouth.
Why Worry about a Dry Mouth
Dry mouth happens as a result of too little, or no moisture, in your mouth. In other words, no saliva. Whether you know it or not, saliva is essential for your oral health. When you chew your food, your saliva is not only breaking it down for digestion, it is pulling food particles off of your teeth, essentially cleaning your teeth as you eat.
One of the biggest threats to your teeth is the acid associated with eating. Often the food itself will contain acid, and even when it doesn’t, bacteria in your mouth will convert food sugars to acid. But saliva does a pretty good job of combatting this tooth decaying acid. In fact, it neutralizes it, countering the corrosive effect. Then saliva will wash away the acid, bacteria, and food particles. Significantly reducing the threat of tooth decay.
As wonderful as all this is, the most amazing thing about saliva is its ability to directly combat plaque forming bacteria. Saliva has natural antibacterial properties, which is why you instinctively put your finger in your mouth when you get a paper cut. This means that saliva doesn’t just wash away bacteria, it repels it.
As you can see, saliva is nothing short of essential for a healthy mouth. So if you are experiencing dry mouth, your oral health is at risk. Without saliva protecting your teeth and gums, bacteria and acid are free to do their damage unchecked.
So dry mouth is more than just an annoyance. It is serious oral health problem that should be taken seriously and treated like the threat it is.
Why You Have Dry Mouth
Dehydration – This is a pretty obvious one. If your body doesn’t have enough water, it can’t make saliva. Typically, dehydration happens as a result of a lack of preparation. You do some sort of physical activity, go to the gym, or on a run, or play basketball, without bringing along a water bottle. If this happens as an isolated incident, then you’re probably not damaging your oral health too much, but if this is a habit for you, then your mouth is going to suffer, not to mention the rest of your body.
Food – Unfortunately, sometimes the food you eat can deprive your body of moisture. Such is the case with cured meats and alcohol. These foods have a variety of health risks, so hopefully you partake of them in moderation anyway. But when you do indulge in that pastrami sub and cold beer, make sure you follow it up with lots of water.
Medicine – By their nature, medicines cause a chemical change in your body, and a common result of this is dry mouth. Just make sure the cure for what ails you doesn’t cause more ailments. If your medicine is drying you out, increase your water intake.
Visit Overmeyer Family Dental
Don’t let something as easily treatable as dry mouth and dehydration ruin your oral health. Make sure to always drink plenty of water, and come to our Orlando office for regular cleanings and examinations to keep you healthy.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment.