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What is Saliva and is it Important?

Saliva, or our spit, plays a very important role in keeping our mouths healthy. Believe it or not, we get saliva from our blood and it’s therefore fitting that it acts as ‘the bloodstream of our mouths’.

And just like blood, saliva maintains healthy tissue in our mouths. So when our mouths aren’t producing enough saliva, oral health problems can arise. One way to maintain a healthy flow of saliva in your mouth is through chewing, as chewing compresses the salivary glands which in turn releases more saliva.

What else does saliva do? Saliva…

  • Washes away excess food and debris around our teeth and gums,
  • Aids in the breakdown of the food we eat (especially starches),
  • Moistens food to make it easier to swallow,
  • Contains germ-fighting agents to prevent tooth decay and infection,
  • Cleans teeth surfaces because of the levels of calcium, fluoride and phosphate ions,
  • And fights bad breath.

On top of all these benefits, our saliva does a lot to determine the health of our bodies overall. As mentioned it is derived from our blood, so it contains similar properties to blood and therefore clues to our overall health. Have you ever wondered why saliva samples are used in a variety of health tests? Well, now you know! Saliva samples are used to determine everything from gum disease, breast cancer, HIV and more recently COVID-19.

So just in case you were wondering, having healthy saliva has lots of health benefits all over the body, not just oral health. So get chewing!

Talk with our dental care team to learn more about what you can do to achieve better oral health. Dr. Stephen Coates and his team are happy to welcome new patients to our Long Beach family dentistry!

Give us at a call at 562-434-6414 or go here to request an appointment.

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