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All About Spit: How Saliva Cleans Teeth

Spit may seem like a gross subject, but it’s actually quite fascinating! The truth is, saliva plays a pivotal role in cleaning teeth, and maintaining overall oral health, making it worthy of a further look.

What is Saliva?

Saliva is a liquid made of water, mucus, proteins, minerals, and an enzyme called amylase made by the salivary glands in the mouth, cheek, and tongue and lips. It is mostly comprised of water, which makes drinking water critical for maintaining adequate levels of saliva needed for oral health.

The Problem: Food Left over in the Mouth

Food debris left on teeth can cause some serious problems for oral health. Sticky, starchy food like bread, sticky granola bars, chips, or gummy snacks will expose teeth to sugar for longer periods of time, and cause a sustained acid attack on tooth enamel. After tooth enamel has eroded, teeth become much more susceptible to decay and cavities. To prevent sustained acid attacks, food debris needs to be washed away from teeth and gums.

How Saliva Helps

Saliva helps prevent cavities from forming, and aids in protecting against gum disease. It naturally cleans teeth by washing away bits of food debris and preventing a prolonged acid attack on tooth enamel. Saliva also contains antimicrobial agents that help combat bad bacteria that fuels cavities.

Saliva also keeps the mouth at a healthy ph balance, and without adequate saliva, cavities and gum disease can occur much more easily.

Saliva is Mostly Water

Saliva is 99% water, so drinking water is the best way to stimulate saliva production. The amount of water a person needs everyday varies, but eight, 8 oz glasses of water everyday is a good place to start. Talk to your doctor about how much water you and your family members need to stay adequately hydrated.

Routine Oral Care is Best

Adequate saliva production is a great way to help keep teeth clean, but it is no substitute for proper, routine oral care. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry advises that everyone brushes their teeth twice per day, for two minutes each session.  It can be tough to convince your child to brush for the full two minutes, but there are some fun ways to help them achieve better brushing results. Go Online to find tooth-brushing videos for children.

Call our office to schedule an appointment for your child so that we can checkup on the state of their mouth. The summer is a great time for a quick visit that won’t cut into their valuable class time.

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