Many of us don’t think about the connection between saliva and good health. From the essential role in normal upper gastrointestinal function to oral health, including the digestion of starch, swallowing and the maintenance of tooth enamel, the salivary glands play an understated, but critical role in our bodies. Healthy bodies are always making saliva, up to 2 to 4 pints a day. Usually, the body makes the most saliva in the late afternoon and the least amount at night.
Dr. James Wells at South Charlotte Dentistry says, “We all need saliva to moisten and cleanse our mouths and digest food. Saliva also prevents infection by controlling bacteria and fungi in the mouth. When we don’t produce enough saliva, our mouth gets dry and uncomfortable. ”
There are many people who suffer from dry mouth syndrome or what’s medically known as Xerostomia. It’s more common in older people, especially those on medication. Dry mouth can be a common side effect of many prescription and nonprescription drugs including drugs used to treat depression, anxiety, pain, allergies, and colds (antihistamines and decongestants, obesity, acne, epilepsy, hypertension (diuretics), diarrhea, nausea, psychotic disorders. urinary incontinence, asthma, and Parkinson’s disease. Dry mouth can also be a side effect of muscle relaxants and sedatives. Dry mouth can also also seen in people that have gone through radiation involving the salivary glands.
From a dental point of view, if you suffer a 50 percent reduction in saliva it will begin to cause tooth decay. And if not address right away, it will cause rapid tooth decay for many people. The lack of saliva in your mouth will affect tooth and root surfaces causing lasting damage if not addressed in a timely fashion.
Fortunately, there are many effective treatments for dry mouth. There are artificial saliva products available for people who suffer from Dry Mouth. These are generally over-the-counter products that come in a form of a rinse or a spray. Some tooth pastes, mouthwashes and moisturizing gels specifically formulated for dry mouth. Ask me about how I can help if you have this problem.