It might surprise you to know how important it is to maintain a healthy flow of saliva. Not only does saliva wash away the food particles that may be left behind after we eat but it also gets rid of some of the harmful bacteria that thrives in our mouths, helping to prevent tooth decay.
Many of our favorite foods and drinks are high in acid content. Saliva can neutralize the acids in products like coffee, beer, and citrus fruits so that we can continue to enjoy them. Saliva makes it possible for us to chew our foods so completely that it will be easier for our digestive system to process them.
Our saliva is produced by a number of glands located throughout the mouth. When the salivary glands produce, the moisture makes it easier for us to chew and speak clearly. The chewing action in turn, stimulates the glands to produce more saliva.
You have probably heard the term “dry mouth,” used to describe what happens when our salivary glands fail to provide a sufficient amount of saliva. There is also a condition called “hypersalivation” which is caused by an excess amount of saliva. Your dentist or hygienist can offer ways to relieve the symptoms in both cases and advise you about what you can do and what to avoid to ward off a recurrence.
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