Sometimes the simplest of things are taken for granted, and that’s understandable. It’s just a fact of life. Everybody’s busy. But, if you can pause long enough from your obligations, you can discover how small things are playing the largest roles in your everyday life. An example of something small that is easily overlooked, is saliva. Be aware of the amazing information saliva has about your overall health hidden within it.
Amazing Facts About Saliva
- Dry Mouth – If you are suffering from dry mouth, then you are missing out on some important benefits of saliva. It acts as a buffer that neutralizes acids and the risk of cavities. It also bathes your mouth, washing away bacteria and particles. Medications, including blood pressure, psychiatric and gastrointestinal drugs, can reduce saliva and cause dry mouth.
- Oral Infection – Yeast infection can develop in the mouth (oral thrush), making saliva turn white. Thrush builds up on the tongue, inner cheeks, roof of the mouth, tonsils or gums and back of the throat. This is caused by overgrowth of the fungus Candida albicans.
- Diseases – Saliva plays an important role in assessing health, identifying diseases and gathering genetic information. It’s easier to collect than blood, while containing some of the same biochemical markers. For example, when diagnosing diabetes, saliva tests can detect the body’s glucose levels.
- Drug Use – Saliva tests can now be used to test for recreational drug use, including cocaine, marijuana, amphetamines, ecstasy, PCP and opioids.
- Excess Saliva – Generally, excess saliva is no big deal. But, there are medical conditions that contribute to this, including gastrointestinal reflux disease, pancreatitis and liver disease.
The Power of Information
Information is super powerful for multiple reasons. One is that it allows you to act with a sense of assuredness. And by knowing how important your saliva is to your overall health, you will pay more attention to it.
When you visit your dentist twice a year for dental cleanings and checkups, it’s a great opportunity for her to evaluate your overall oral health, and for you to ask questions about any changes you may have noticed in your saliva production. Together you all will ensure that you have optimum oral health for years to come.
About the Author
Jill Wade, DDS, MAGD has been practicing dentistry for over 20 years. During that time span she has provided the highest quality cosmetic, restorative and preventive care, and striven to educate her patients about the dental-wellness and whole-health connection. Dr. Wade earned her Doctorate of Dental Surgery from Baylor University in 1995. Afterwards, she served as both resident and fellow of the Advanced Education of General Dentistry program. In 2010, she would earn the prestigious Master of Academy of General Dentistry. Dr. Wade practices at Stonebriar Smile Design and can be reached for more information through her website.