Generally speaking, saliva is seen as something negative in our culture. Associated with germs and widely rude behavior, we call it spit and dismiss it as useless and even disgusting. However, dentists have a completely different view on saliva, being completely aware of all of the powerful positive effects it has on your oral health and hygiene. Learning just a few of these positive benefits is sure to change your outlook on this too often disparaged bodily fluid.
Fighting Germs: While saliva is often associated with spreading disease, too few people actually realize the important role that it plays in helping to ward off infection. Saliva carries immunoproteins that trap and clump together bacteria, making it easier to wash these dangerous microbes away and preventing them from infesting your body. These immunoproteins also work to prevent dangerous oral diseases like gingivitis, contributing to your long term dental health. While saliva can’t succeed alone, it plays an important role in keeping your mouth in tip-top shape.
Maintaining Tooth Health: Saliva surrounds your teeth every day, and it is chock full of minerals that actually help keep your teeth strong and healthy. These minerals help to rebuild and strengthen the enamel on the outside of your teeth, protecting them from cavities and decay. Dentists know that this process is what keeps thickening your enamel over the span of time, which is one of the reasons that children are more prone to dental decay than adults. There is no other process in the body that is as helpful in keeping your enamel strong, and combined with a regular regiment of brushing and flossing your saliva can keep your teeth healthier.
Antacid Effects: It is a little known fact that your saliva actually helps to act as an antacid, both with items that you are ingesting as well as with any overactive stomach acid with which you may be struggling. While it certainly is not strong enough to be the only answer to your overactive acid reflux, it is your body’s first line of defense against the discomfort of painful acid attacks.
Scientific Advancement: With advancements in science, saliva testing offers a safe and easy way to not only test for genetic traits and anomalies, but also for viruses like HIV. There are even tests now being developed to treat for more serious conditions like cancer or hepatitis. Saliva testing is painless and simple, making it a remarkably appealing way to collect data.
As far as dentists are concerned, saliva is much more than just spit. It is a fluid with many important medical and dental uses that should be valued. People who suffer from intense dry mouth, otherwise known as xerostomia, definitely appreciate saliva for its many uses. After all, they know from first-hand experience that without plentiful saliva, chewing, speaking, swallowing, and other everyday activities can be extremely difficult. Instead of treating your saliva as something to be ashamed of, remember its many uses and be thankful for the saliva you’ve got.