Why is Saliva an important part of your Oral Health?
An average person produces approximately 0.5 milliliters of saliva per minute. Not a huge figure, right? But when we multiply this figure by 24 hours of 365 days, we get something close to 262.8 liters. This is how much saliva your body produces in a year. And if we multiply this figure by the average life span of a human being, we would get a figure that would be enough to fill up a small swimming pool of saliva. Saliva production could be an important factor when it comes to your oral health, yet not much heed is paid to it. You probably thought that your saliva is just another waste product of the human body, but we call it an ‘unsung hero’.
Saliva is a clear liquid made of 98% water and 2% of mucus, proteins, minerals and an enzyme called amylase. It is produced by the six major salivary glands and hundreds of minor ones that surround the oral cavity. Once produced by the salivary glands, this saliva then moves through tiny ducts to finally reach your mouth. This constant secretion of saliva into the mouth helps in keeping it moist & comfortable and also helps to chew the food better. The harder you chew, the more saliva your mouth produces. This results in better assimilation of the nutrients from the food.
Why is Saliva a Saviour?
The components that make up the saliva provide an effective system for lubrication of the mouth and protection of the hard and soft tissue. The saliva acts as a natural cleanser that flushes away the oral debris and other noxious particles every time you eat something. Its antimicrobial proteins help in safeguarding the oral ecosystem from infectious agents.
We have often heard that the process of digestion begins in the mouth. This stands true as saliva is the necessary liquid that is required to create a mixture that is suitable for the stomach. It makes the food wet and soft, making it easier to glide down the throat. The digestive enzyme in saliva, called the salivary amylase, breaks down the starch from the food into sugar. Not just for digestion, this fluid is also essential to get the maximum taste out of all the delicious food that you eat. This is because saliva breaks down the structure of foods and releases food molecules. These molecules are then picked up by the taste bud receptors to identify each flavour.
Apart from the enzymes, the mucus in saliva plays an important role too. The mucus coats the skin inside your mouth and protects it from the trauma during eating, swallowing and even speaking. It also prevents the food from sticking inside the mouth, aiding it to travel smoothly to the stomach. The concentration of opiorphin in saliva makes it a natural pain-killer. A large number of antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties are also present in human saliva. In case, you don’t have access to clean water, the disinfecting properties in your saliva might even eliminate the pathogens from the contaminated water (although we don’t advise you to experiment with it).
But what if humans didn’t produce any Saliva?
Teeth are the hardest objects in the human body and you constantly thrash them against each other with the maximum force of your jaw. The fact that you don’t lose teeth due to eating, intentionally clenching your jaw or even grinding teeth at night is possible only because of saliva. The lubricating properties of saliva allow the teeth to slide past instead of damaging each other.
Saliva contains important elements such as calcium, bicarbonate and phosphate which neutralize the plaque acids. An absence of this fluid would result in the plaque acids attacking and damaging the teeth with every meal that you would take. In addition to this, the food and other debris will get stuck to your teeth and swallowing food would feel like a deadly task. The enamel surface would not be able to endure the acids from the food and would start to soften, which would ultimately lead to dental erosion.
With the mentioned things, you would face a myriad of other painful problems. Hence, survival without saliva would be quite difficult and extremely painful.
If you face any problems related to saliva or have a dry mouth, pay a visit to one the best dental clinics in Indore, Nidaan Multispeciality Dental Clinic. We would be happy to take care of all your dental problems.