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The Importance of Saliva for Oral Hygiene The best weapon we use to fight decay is the saliva produced by the glands surrounding the mouth. Saliva is made of over 99.5 percent water the remaining components of saliva include ions such as sodium, potassium chloride and various phosphates and mucous . All these elements work together to provide buffers that assist with regulating the PH in the oral cavity and also producing enzymes that assist in starting the process of breaking down our food. Saliva’s most vital function is not merely moistening the mouth cavity which promotes speech and the movement of food through the digestive system but to fight enamel erosion that facilitates tooth decay. If the bacteria found in the mouth are not minimized and neutralized with the help of saliva, demineralization of the hard tissues, for example, enamel will occur causing progressive degradation of the tooth’s organic matter will follow. There are numerous factors which affect the production of saliva. Though there are many elements that contribute to lowering the production of saliva, it is most times difficult to isolate the issue stemming from one specific factor. Reasons such as mouth breathing, aging, smoking, and depression are among the typical culprits that lead to a drier mouth. However, most times, the occurrence of dry mouth syndrome or xerostomia is recognized to be as a consequence of overall body causes rather than their local oral cavity problems. The most typical motives for xerostomia are using medications that decrease the production of saliva, remedial irradiation that’s used as a treatment for neck and head cancers and several gastrointestinal problems. There are many drugs which have the side effect of making the mouth dry. It is quite difficult to find an aging adult that does not take more than one medicine that deters the production of saliva. An autoimmune disease called Sjogren’s syndrome is famous for the damage it creates to salivary glands. This syndrome is most times connected to the different rheumatoid diseases. Radiation therapy, used for the treatment of neck and head cancers most times damages salivary glands and halts or lowers salivary production. With many body triggers that result in dry mouth syndrome; folks must be adept in maximizing the resources available to increase salivary creation.
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Luckily, there are measures that one can take to increase the salivary flow to replace oral secretions. Enough hydration is vital and should be assessed. One should follow good oral hygiene techniques with daily brushing and flossing.
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One may purchase over the counter fluoride rinses that help in providing an extra barrier to help in protecting the teeth from the occurrence of decay. If radiation therapy is proposed to treat cancer; your dentist can create fluoride trays to guard the teeth during radiation therapy.