Saliva doesn't get the respect it deserves. Unbeknownst to most people, without saliva, your teeth wouldn't last very long at all. Although it might not look very effective at tooth preservation, saliva can actually ensure the longevity of your teeth. It's important that you try to maintain a moist oral environment.
Here are just some of the ways that saliva can preserve your teeth.
Saliva Neutralises Acid
The modern human diet contains a lot of acidic foods and drinks. Our teeth encounter ascorbic acid from fizzy drinks and citric acid found in certain fruits like lemons. Moreover, oral bacteria produce acids too from the sulphur compounds that they release in your mouth. Together, these acids can create a highly damaging environment in your mouth, especially at mealtimes.
But saliva can neutralise these acids provided there is enough of it, and that it is of a pH of at least 5.5.
Saliva Kills Bacteria
Without saliva, your only way to kill the bacteria in your mouth is with mouthwash or by brushing your teeth. Saliva contains potent enzymes that attack bad oral bacteria. The more saliva-filled your mouth is then, the less bacteria you will have living on your teeth and gums throughout the day.
Saliva Washes Your Mouth Out
Consider how a waterfall acts on a mountainside. It washes all the dirt and sediment down into the rivers that flow below. Your saliva does something similar inside your mouth. But instead of dirt, your saliva washes away the food particles that get stuck on your teeth while you eat. These particles then end up in your stomach instead of on your teeth, where they contribute to tooth decay.
Saliva Re-Mineralises Your Enamel
Did you know that saliva can also strengthen the enamel layer on your teeth, making it harder? That's because the minerals that you digest, in your mouth and stomach, end up in your saliva. Minerals like phosphorous and calcium are important for strengthening your enamel. And it is your saliva that allows these minerals to penetrate your teeth directly from your mouth.
But if your mouth is always dry, your saliva won't be able to strengthen your teeth in this way.
Your saliva is very important to the longevity of your teeth. But unless you keep yourself hydrated by drinking lots of water, you won't have enough saliva to help your teeth. Make sure you stay hydrated throughout the day, no matter where you are. For more information, speak with a dentist.