Protecting Your Smile with Saliva

To protect your healthy smile, you want to begin with the saliva in your mouth (and yes, that may sound strange!). Many people are not aware that a healthy smile is not only about strong teeth and gums, but the continuous production of saliva as well. This clear, watery liquid is produced by the glands in your mouth. These glands, called salivary glands, secrete a liquid that travels to the mouth through tubes called salivary ducts. Saliva contains electrolytes, enzymes, mucus and glycoproteins, and antibacterial compounds within its watery base.

What It Does

Saliva works to keep teeth healthy and strong by coating them in calcium and phosphorous and other minerals that are good for your teeth. It also dilutes the acid in the mouth which erodes your teeth otherwise, and washes away the oral debris in the mouth. Saliva also has substances in it that helps fight oral bacteria and disease.

Why You Need It

You need saliva to remove harmful bacteria in your mouth that will build up into plaque. Plaque creates acids that erode the tooth enamel over time so that you end up with cavities. Saliva contains molecules (the calcium and phosphate mentioned above) that neutralize the acid. Also, if you drink water with fluoride in it, or use fluoride containing toothpaste or mouthwash, this fluoride stays behind in the saliva protecting the enamel. This is also known as remineralization. You want to continually wash away oral debris such as food particles that are left behind after you eat and drink and feed the many kinds of bacteria in your mouth.

Remineralization works best by balancing a healthy production of saliva production with daily oral care and regular dental cleanings to keep teeth and gums healthy and strong. So stay extra hydrated for healthy saliva production to maintain your healthy smile!

We invite you to come in and visit with one of our dedicated dentists, Dr. Landon King and Dr. Burke Jardine, if it is time for your next dental cleaning.  You can reach our Smiles Dental team in Camas, Washington by calling 360.335.3998 today.