Saliva is important to a healthy functioning smile. It washes away food particles, moistens and breaks down your food, and helps you taste and swallow, all while producing disease-fighting agents which prevent tooth decay and oral infections. In addition, it secretes high levels of calcium, fluoride and phosphate ions which directly benefit your teeth.
Saliva is created from blood and maintains the healthy soft and hard tissues in the mouth. Insufficient saliva production actually increases your risk of tooth decay. So what exactly are your saliva glands and how do they work? There are three salivary glands on each side of your mouth.
- The parotid gland up high in your cheek, secreting saliva just above your upper molars.
- The submandibular gland lies deep in your jawbone alongside your bottom teeth, secreting saliva beneath the tongue.
- The sublingual gland sits beneath the tip of your tongue, secreting saliva near the front of your tongue’s bottom surface.
The most effective way to create saliva production is to chew, as this action causes the muscles to compress and release saliva. Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated, such as water, and watch your caffeine intake to make sure your saliva is producing properly. You can also chew sugar-free gum or mints to stimulate saliva production. Our dentist may also prescribe artificial saliva rinse or spray to help moisten your mouth.
For more information or to schedule a visit to our office, please call Jacqueline S. Reid DDS in Chatham, New Jersey, at 973.635.9456 today. Dr. Jacqueline S. Reid is always ready to help you achieve a healthy smile!