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Why Saliva is Important in Maintaining Oral Hygeine

The best weapon we have to fight decay is the saliva produced by the glands surrounding the oral cavity. Water makes up about 99.5 percent of saliva; the rest of the elements of saliva include ions such as potassium, potassium chloride and various phosphates and mucous. All these components work together to provide buffers that assist with regulating the PH in the oral cavity and creating enzymes that assist with starting the process of breaking down our food. Saliva’s most vital function is not merely moistening the mouth cavity which promotes speech and the movement of food through the digestive system but to fight enamel erosion that facilitates tooth decay. If the bacteria found in the mouth are not minimized and neutralized with the help of saliva, demineralization of the hard tissues, for example, enamel will occur causing progressive degradation of the tooth’s organic matter will follow.

There are numerous factors which affect the production of saliva. Though there are many factors which contribute to decreasing the production of saliva, it is most times hard to isolate the problem coming from one particular factor. Reasons such as mouth breathing, aging, smoking, and depression are among the typical culprits that lead to a drier mouth. But, in most cases, the incidence of dry mouth syndrome or xerostomia is diagnosed to be as a consequence of general body causes instead of the community oral cavity issues.

The most common reasons for xerostomia are utilizing medications that decrease the production of saliva, therapeutic irradiation that is used to treat neck and head cancers and several autoimmune conditions. There are many drugs which have the side effect of making the mouth dry. It is quite hard to find an aging adult that does not take more than one medication that deters the production of saliva. An autoimmune disease called Sjogren’s syndrome is known for the damage it creates to salivary glands. This syndrome is most times associated with the various rheumatoid diseases. Radiation therapy, used for the treatment of neck and head cancers most times damages salivary glands and halts or lowers salivary production. With several body causes that result in dry mouth syndrome, people must be diligent in maximizing the resources available to increase salivary production.
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Luckily, there are measures that one may take to increase the salivary circulation to replace oral secretions. Adequate hydration is vital and should be assessed. One should follow good oral hygiene practices with daily flossing and brushing.
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One may purchase over the counter fluoride rinses that help in providing an extra barrier to help in protecting the teeth from the occurrence of decay. If radiation therapy is proposed to treat cancer; your dentist can create fluoride trays to guard the teeth during radiation therapy.