Have you ever stopped to think about why your body produces saliva? We’re going to guess the answer is no, but it’s actually a very important function and one that helps keep us healthy.
Each day the body produces 2-4 pints of saliva. This moisture allows us to chew, taste and swallow food and beverages. The proteins and minerals found in saliva help fight germs, prevent bad breath and protect gums and teeth from disease and decay by clearing food particles from your teeth.
Some medications and diseases prevent people from producing enough saliva making the mouth very dry and causing what is known as dry mouth. Those suffering from dry mouth can have gums, tongue and other tissues that become swollen and uncomfortable. Unfortunately, this is exactly the type of environment bacteria thrives in which is why many of those who suffer from dry mouth also have issues with bad breath. Dry mouth sufferers are also more likely to have tooth decay and suffer from gum disease.
You can prevent dry mouth by drinking lots of water and sucking on sugar-free candy. If the problem persists, a dentist can recommend other treatments to help with dry mouth.
On the other side of the spectrum are those who suffer from too much saliva. Luckily, this condition is not as worrisome as too little saliva and is usually not a problem. If it is an annoyance, changes in diet can usually remedy the situation or talk to your doctor to see if it is the result of a medical problem or condition.