Saliva’s job in the mouth is to wash away food particles and moisten and break down your food. It helps you taste and swallow, and has disease-fighting agents which prevent tooth decay and oral infections. It also protects your teeth by secreting 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.
If you have dry mouth due to insufficient saliva, our dentist may prescribe artificial saliva rinse or spray to help moisten your mouth. For more information, please call North Texas Dental Associates in Plano, Texas, at 972-535-6647 today. Dr. James E. Hillstrom and Dr. Bart Paxton are here to help you maintain your healthy smile!