Laurie DeRosa RDH
Healthy Saliva = Healthy Mouth
In order for us to have a healthy mouth we need to have healthy saliva.
Saliva helps us to chew, taste and swallow. It keeps our mouths moist, fights bacteria and helps to prevent bad breath, gum disease and decay.
If your salivary glands are healthy, your body could make up to two to four pints of saliva per day. Most of your saliva is made during the day. At night our mouths tend to be more dry.
A Dry Mouth Can Lead to Dental Problems
Xerostomia is a condition also known as dry mouth and it occurs when our bodies do not produce enough salvia. When this occurs the gums, tongue, and other tissues in the mouth can become swollen and cause discomfort. Since bacteria are partial to this environment a dry mouth also leads to bad breath or halitosis.
If you have dry mouth you are more likely to develop cavities and/or gum disease.
Dry mouth can be caused by certain over the counter medications as well as certain prescriptions. Common diseases such as Diabetes, Parkinson’s, Sjogren’s syndrome and HIV are also responsible for dry mouth. Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy often complain of dry mouth. These are just some of the causes of dry mouth.
Stay Hydrated For Healthy Saliva
Dehydration will also cause your saliva production to drop. On average you want to consume about two liters of water per day. The best defense if you are experiencing dry mouth is to be diligent with your daily oral hygiene which should include brushing, flossing and possibly adding some form of irrigation. Chewing gum with xylitol or sucking on sugar-free lozenges will help to stimulate salivary flow. There are also mouth sprays and rinses that are available.
Laurie DeRosa RDH is a Registered Dental Hygienist with the biological dental team at National Integrated Health Associates, NIHA, an integrative medicine and dental center serving the Washington DC metro area. Using the latest in dental technology, her goal is to help the dental patient understand the important connection between their oral health and their overall health.