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Yes, that ‘s right. We just love saliva. It is an amazing, miraculous material that we all take for granted.
It is necessary to lubricate your mouth and to prevent you from having that dry feeling in your throat and mouth. Also, did you know that there are enzymes in saliva that actually start the digestion process? Your mouth is actually the first part of the digestive tract and your teeth and saliva start to break down the food that will later be attacked by the strong stomach acids.
Another role of saliva is that it acts as a protective film on teeth and it neutralizes the acids in foods and drinks. It helps to prevent cavities by neutralizing those acids that could erode enamel. People who have lower salivary flow tend to get a LOT more cavities and also they tend not to taste their food as much.
So what can decrease salivary flow?? The main culprits are medications, alcohol, smoking and excessive caffeine intake.
Almost all medications can have an effect on your salivary glands. If you notice that you have a drier mouth or your food tastes different after starting a medication, it is most likely because you have less salivary flow. This is common with cancer patients who are on chemotherapy or radiation therapy and have had a sudden decrease in their salivary flow. In these cases, you want to be extra vigilant about cavities. We routinely prescribe fluoride treatment and more regular checkups.
Other symptoms of dry mouth are:
• A sticky, dry feeling in the mouth, including a dry, red, raw
• Sores in the mouth; sores or split skin at the corners of the mouth; cracked lips.
• Frequent thirst, bad breath, problems speaking, difficulty tasting, chewing and swallowing.
Please call us at 213-385-9710, or click here to make an appointment. We can help you keep your teeth healthy for a lifetime.