The average person produces two to four pints of saliva every day. But, what exactly can your spit reveal about your health? A lot more than you think! You may know saliva for its role in helping you speak, swallow and chew. However, beyond its role in digestion, it can be a key indicator of your overall health. Although it’s 99.5% water, your saliva contains enzymes, proteins, mucous, electrolytes, antibacterials and other important substances.
Research is still expanding to show just how diagnostic your saliva can be. Currently, doctors can look at a variety of health factors by examining just a small drop of your saliva. From accessing your heart disease risk and gauging stress levels to even screening for certain types of cancers, your saliva can reveal countless biological mysteries if examined properly.
Perhaps the biggest message your spit gives is when you don’t have enough. A low saliva production or dry mouth can be an occasional occurrence (when you are nervous or upset) or it can be a chronic condition that needs attention. Not only can dry mouth make it difficult to swallow and speak, but it can also compromise your oral health. You need saliva to wash away bacteria and food debris from your teeth and gums after you eat. It also protects your smile from cavities by neutralizing the acids in your mouth. If you have a dry mouth and your gums are red or puffy, you may have early gum disease. Dry mouth can be a result of a certain medication you are taking or a specific medical condition. However, it is always recommended that you discuss your dry mouth condition with your dentist at your regular check-up. There are specific mouth rinses designed to treat dry mouth.
If you suspect that you have dry mouth, please let us know. At Park South Dentistry, we examine all aspects of your oral health so that you retain a healthy and comfortable smile through all stages of life.