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Our goal today is to show you how important a healthy mouth is for your smile, by discussing the role saliva plays in this process. Most people know that the teeth and gums are essential to a healthy smile, but without healthy saliva production, your teeth and gums would suffer.

What is saliva’s job in the mouth?

Saliva works to wash away food particles, moistens and breaks down the foods you eat and helps you taste and swallow. Not only that, saliva produces disease-fighting agents that prevent tooth decay and oral infections. Saliva also secretes high levels of calcium, fluoride and phosphate ions that directly benefit your teeth.

What is saliva comprised of and how is it released into the mouth?

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. 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.

How are proper levels of saliva maintained?

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.

If you would like more information or wish to schedule an appointment with our dentist, please call Kevin J. Reece, DDS in Payson, Utah, at 801-465-4474 today. Dr. Kevin J. Reece and our team are always eager to help you achieve a healthy smile!