Dentist - Milton
Milton Mall Shopping Centre

55 Ontario St. S.
Milton, Ontario, L9T 2M3

Find answers and other helpful dental topics in our digital library.

April 09, 2017
Category: Uncategorized
Tags: Untagged

Call it what you want, but saliva is incredibly important and never really thought about...until you don't have any.

First of all, what exactly is saliva?  it's acutally 99% water, but it contains many important substances including enzymes, electrolytes, mucous and antibacterial compounds.  One of the key enzymes is amylase which breaks down starches.  Therefore, digestion of food is occurring in the mouth before food even reaches the stomach.

Saliva is produced by salivary glands located in the inside of each cheek, at the bottom of the mouth and under the jaw at the front of the mouth.  These glands produce about one to two liters of saliva every day.  This saliva is used to moisten food so it can be easily swallowed. Think back to the last time you tried eating a cracker when your mouth was really dry.  Not fun.

The problem is that many medicatons currently prescribed for treating depression, anxiety, psychosis, allergies, and high blood pressure, as well as many other conditions cause dry mouth.  A lack of saliva makes you much more susceptible to tooth decay because saliva contains a number of antibacterial ingredients.  Thus root decay in seniors wha are taking multiple medications is becoming more and more of a problem.

What can we do about this?  First of all, drink lots of water.  A saliva substitute such as Biotene can help a lot as well.  And having xylitol-sweetened mints in your mouth throughout the day will help stimulate some saliva.  The xylitol cannot be used by bacteria to produce acid.

So don't take saliva for granted.  It's one of those things in life that you don't appreciate until you don't have it anymore.