Lots of helpful and useful things are done by the saliva. Research has shown that saliva helps in protecting you against oral problems such as gum disease and tooth decay. Versus bacteria, the teeth are covered with a thin sheet of saliva that aids in defending against it. There are things called antimicrobial agents in saliva that aid in killing bacteria. Small bits of food that could have caused the decaying of teeth are swept away as the saliva moves around the mouth. Minerals that help rebuild the enamel surfaces of the teeth are also present in the saliva. Acid neutralization in the mouth that break down tooth enable are also done by the saliva during and after eating.
Saliva also aids in digesting your food. Amylase is an enzyme present in the saliva and helps starches start to break down in the mouth. It also aids in making your food easy to swallow by making it soft and wet so that it can slide down the throat more easily.
What would happen when the saliva you make is not enough
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Some people do not make enough saliva. This is called xerostomia or in simpler words, a dry mouth. Sj?gren’s syndrome and diabetes and other certain health conditions can cause dry mouth. Cancer treatments can also lead to dry mouth. Medications for allergies, depression, high blood pressure, and more can also cause dry mouth.
Problems will start to happen when you do not have enough saliva. Tooth decay and gum disease can happen much more easily. You can get more infections from yeast, fungus, and bacteria. Swallowing and digesting food can also be a trouble for you. Plus, the uncomfortable feeling of having a dry mouth will also affect you.
What happens when you have too much saliva
Having too much saliva is usually something not to be worried about unless it persists. Making more or less saliva is completely normal based on what you eat or drink. Your body usually takes care of the excess generated saliva by swallowing more.
When you eat very spicy foods, it is normal for your salivary glands to go into overdrive. Based on how much saliva you make, your taste buds on your tongue play a big role. Eating something very sour or spicy will make your taste buds react by telling your body to generate more saliva. In comparison to sweet foods, acidic foods tend to trigger a lot more saliva. Try to change your diet when you are bothered by excess saliva.
If you generate a lot of saliva all the time, it is time to tell your health-care provider. It could be the result of a medical condition or disease or of a medication.