Why Saliva Is So Important

Posted on Oct 01, 2014 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

Why is it so important to your oral health (teeth and gums) to maintain sufficient moisture in your mouth? Your saliva plays an important part in removing food particles and bacteria. Certain medications, age, or particular foods and beverages (alcohol, especially) can contribute to dry mouth.

A dry mouth enables oral bacteria to ‘hang around’ and multiply. The longer bacteria remains in your mouth, the more reproduce. This build up is the beginning of the sticky film that forms plaque. While daily brushing and flossing certainly helps to curtail the accumulation of bacteria, without a sufficient flow of saliva, this cleansing battle becomes too much for bristles and string alone.

Oral moisture is particularly important for those who are more susceptible than others to this bacteria. While all people have bacteria in their bodies, two kinds (abbreviated as SM and LB) are especially harmful in the mouth.

An estimated 75% of Americans over the age of 35 have some form of periodontal disease. Gum disease is also the nation’s leading cause of tooth loss. Missing teeth create a long list of problems, from gastrointestinal to psychological. In a country as advanced as ours, our population should have better dental health.

Be committed to having exceptional oral health at every age and ensure adequate moisture by drinking plenty of water. If needed, you can use an over-the-counter oral moisture rinse to counteract drying effects of medications or aging. For suggestions, call us at (828) 274-9440.

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