Though it may not be a polite topic of conversation at the Thanksgiving table, you should think about your spit. Do you know what’s in it, or all it does for your oral health? If you don’t know the answers, then perhaps it’s time to give this unsung hero the attention it deserves.
Continue reading to learn more about saliva and its important role in preserving your oral health. Once you see what it can do, you’ll be drinking a lot more water this Thanksgiving.
Where Does Saliva Come From?
Saliva is produced in glands all around your mouth. The major salivary glands include the parotid, submandibular, and sublingual glands. These work in harmony to keep your mouth moist by secreting saliva when you smell, see, or taste food.
Understanding where saliva comes from is the first step in truly appreciating its magnificence. It’s continuously bathing your teeth and gums, contributing to overall oral health.
What Is Saliva Made Of?
Saliva is a complex concoction of water, enzymes, proteins, and electrolytes. The water helps to moisten the food you eat, making it easier to chew and swallow. Enzymes help break down starches into digestible forms, and proteins fight off harmful bacteria.
Electrolytes, like sodium and potassium, maintain the balance of fluids in and out of cells. The combination of these components creates a fluid that not only aids in digestion but also aids in maintaining the health of your teeth and gums.
What Does Saliva Do?
Saliva does a lot of heavy lifting to preserve your oral health. Here are some of its key roles:
Lubricates Your Mouth and Throat:
Saliva prevents dryness in your mouth, lubricating your oral tissues and making it more comfortable to talk and swallow. This lubrication also helps in controlling bacteria that can cause bad breath.
Protects Your Teeth:
Saliva contains minerals like calcium and phosphate that help remineralize tooth enamel, strengthening your teeth and reversing the early stages of tooth decay.
Can Help Diagnose Conditions:
Changes in the composition of saliva can sometimes indicate underlying health conditions. Researchers are exploring the potential of saliva testing for various diseases, including diabetes and certain cancers.
This Thanksgiving, as you enjoy the bountiful feast, take a moment to say thanks to your saliva. Its contributions go far beyond decorating your pillow after Thanksgiving naps. So, as you reach for that second helping of pie, remember to raise a metaphorical toast to your spit. And don’t forget to stay hydrated – your saliva will thank you.
About the Author
Dr. Renee Corbitt is a passionate and friendly dentist who enjoys lifting her patients out of pain and into their best smiles. She received her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio Dental School and has been an avid learner ever since. To schedule an appointment at Renee Corbitt, DDS, call (817) 294-8821 or visit the website to delve into other services.