The average person produces 1.5 liters of saliva every day. While this seems like a large amount, saliva plays a critical role in keeping your teeth, gums and mouth healthy. Not only does it help you chew, swallow and digest your food, it also helps prevent tooth decay and gum disease. This is because saliva helps wash particles of food off of your teeth that could cause plaque and decay. In addition, it neutralizes acidic foods and beverages that contribute to tooth decay.
When enough saliva is not produced, problems can arise. People who have dry mouth are known to have poorer oral and gum health. According to the American Dental Association, too much dryness can irritate soft tissues in the mouth, leading to inflammation and an increased risk of infection. And, as noted above, a lack of saliva means they aren’t able to easily remove food, sugar and acid from around their teeth.
One other important characteristic of saliva is its richness in calcium and other minerals. This means saliva can help reverse the beginning stages of tooth decay by remineralizing teeth and repairing enamel. To ensure you are producing enough saliva, try chewing sugar-free gum or sucking on hard candies to stimulate salivary glands. If you are concerned about your level of saliva production, talk to your True Care Advantage plan dentist.