For a healthy, beautiful smile, you will need to do more than just keep your teeth and gums healthy. The environment in your mouth depends on the health of your oral tissues, and is provided by healthy levels of saliva production to keep your mouth functioning smoothly. This means that you will need to keep up with daily brushing at least twice a day, and flossing at least once daily, along with visting your dentist for regular professional dental cleanings every six months.
In addition, you want to make sure that you have optimal saliva levels—which is produced in the salivary glands located near your front teeth, inside each cheek, and at the bottom of the mouth. Saliva, a clear liquid made up of mostly water, mixed with mucus, glycoproteins, antibacterial compounds, electrolytes, and enzymes, travels through tubes in the mouth (salivary ducts) from the salivary glands.
Healthy saliva production works to prevent a condition called xerostomia, or dry mouth. Dry mouth causes the oral tissues—the gums and tongue–to swell which and cause oral discomfort. In a dry oral environment where saliva is not constantly washing away germs, they are free to proliferate and cause you to have bad breath. Ultimately, chronic dry mouth will make you prone to tooth decay and gum disease.
Healthy saliva production protects tooth enamel with its proteins and minerals, preventing cavities and gum disease, but it also keeps your mouth moist and comfortable as you chew, taste, and swallow your food. Saliva also keeps dental appliances like dentures in place so they don’t slide around when you talk or chew.
What You Can Do
- To maintain healthy saliva production, you will want to make sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
- Limit your consumption of diuretic liquids such as coffee, tea, alcohol, and caffeinated soda to avoid contributing to dry mouth.
- Chewing sugarless gum or sucking on sugarless actually stimulates saliva production, so you can do this during the day as needed.
By eating a healthy diet, staying hydrated, brushing and flossing your teeth and gums daily and seeing your dentist regularly for professional cleanings, your smile will be healthy and radiant!
To schedule your next cleaning with one of our skilled dentists, Dr. Scott Timmons or Dr. Richard Carlson, please call our Baxter Dental team in Baxter, Minnesota at 218-829-4207 today.