Your saliva might be the last thing you may be concerned about in your busy schedule. For some, saliva may look gross but there are immense benefits that this liquid offers to our mouth. Saliva is a liquid that is formed by the salivary glands of our body. It is predominantly water and has a combination of mucous, enzymes, minerals and proteins.
How is saliva vital for oral health?
Your saliva is very significant in maintaining your mouth in a healthy state. The below listed points will tell you how-
1. Protect gums - Saliva acts like a protective layer for our gums. Hence, it can be called as the first line of defence for the gums. It keeps the gums hydrated and moist. This is important for the gums to be in their healthy state.
2. Prevent dental decay - First of all, saliva has antimicrobial properties due to which it helps in fighting the decay-causing bacteria. Apart from that, saliva flushes out the small particles of food that tend to stick around in the mouth and then become the nutritional resource for bacteria that cause dental decay.
3. Remineralise - Saliva helps in building up the demineralized enamel. Once the minerals like calcium are lost from the enamel layer of the teeth it is known to be in a demineralized state. A cavity develops only when both the mineral part and the structural part of the tooth is lost. Hence, a tooth can be brought back to its original state if the lost minerals are given back to the enamel before the structure collapses. Saliva contains the minerals that compensate for the loss caused due to bacterial attack. This way saliva remineralises the enamel surface of the teeth.
4. Aids in digestion - The first phase of digestion occurs in mouth and it is carried out by an enzyme called amylase present in saliva. Amylase helps in breaking down the starch present in our food. Saliva wets the food that we consume and help in softening the food particles. This soft ball of food becomes easy to swallow as it can glide through our throat with ease.
5. Acid neutralizer - Another important role of saliva is that of an acid neutralizer. Consumption of acidic foods or beverages compromise the integrity of our mouth due to the reduction in the pH level. Saliva helps in preventing this from happening. It neutralizes the effect of acid through the utilization of bicarbonate ions present within the saliva.
6. Helps in speech - You may not realise it until you have a dry mouth (a condition when the quantity of saliva is low).Saliva is extremely necessary for speech as it helps our tongue and oral tissues to carry out movements that are required for speech or chewing action.
Saliva is a life-jacket that protects us from numerous oral problems. Hence, you should ensure to that your saliva remains in the adequate quantity and quality. The best way to do it is by having a balanced diet and by drinking plenty of water.