dry mouth

Saliva: The Unsung Hero of Oral Health

May 18th, 2016

EVER THINK ABOUT HOW GREAT your saliva is? Probably not. We’d love to enlighten you! Saliva has an all-important role in your oral and digestive health.

Saliva Has Many Important Functions

Our bodies make two to four pints of saliva a day. That means that over a lifetime, a person will create enough saliva to fill two swimming pools! So, why is saliva important? Well, there’s more than one answer to that. Besides allowing us to give wet willies or make spit wads when we were kids, our saliva has many important functions.

First, saliva aids in digestion. It begins the process of breaking down food and helps us chew, taste and swallow. In fact, without our spit, we wouldn’t be able to taste at all!

Additionally, saliva is essential to maintaining our oral health. Our spit contains antimicrobial agents that protect teeth and defend against bacteria. It also contains minerals such as calcium and phosphate that remineralize our teeth, strengthening the enamel.

Your saliva plays an especially important role after eating and drinking. It washes away that extra food and debris left in your mouth that contributes to decay. It also helps neutralize the acids created by bacteria that break down enamel and cause cavities. Thank you, saliva!

Some People Do Not Create Enough Saliva
Some people have a condition called dry mouth, where they aren’t producing enough saliva. Certain illnesses and medications can cause dry mouth, and those who have it are more prone to tooth decay and gum disease as a result. For those with and without dry mouth, here are some tips to increase saliva production and protect your teeth:
•Chew sugar-free gum, especially after meals
•Suck on sugarless candy
•Drink plenty of water

In addition to these, there are products we have been giving out at our office to help as well.  Ask us about Xylimelts and Biotene products to help with saliva production.  Our patients have found them very helpful for dry mouth.

Saliva Works Around the Clock to Protect Our Smiles

Saliva may just be the unsung hero of our oral health. It is constantly strengthening and defending our teeth against bacteria, decay and dental disease. At the end of the day, all we can say is that our bodies are amazing and our spit is awesome!

Thank you to our wonderful patients and friends and as always, let us know if you need us to help you keep your "juices" flowing!

Chewing Sugar-Free Gum Boosts Your Oral Health

May 11th, 2016


GUM ISN’T ALL ABOUT freshening your breath. While it definitely helps after that garlic pasta you had for lunch, did you know chewing sugarless gum can also prevent cavities and improve your oral health?

Chewing Gum Increases Saliva Flow and Prevents Cavities

According to the American Dental Association, studies show that chewing sugar-free gum for 20 minutes after a meal can prevent tooth decay. The act of chewing increases saliva flow in your mouth. The saliva then washes away food and neutralizes acids, cleaning and protecting your teeth from cavity-causing bacteria.

You’ll want to make sure your gum is sugar-free, however. While gum that contains sugar also increases saliva flow, the sugar actually feeds the bacteria in your mouth, putting you at greater risk of decay. We definitely don’t want that!

Quick tip: Sugarless gum sweetened with xylitol even reduces the amount of bacteria that stick to your teeth! Be sure to ask for a sample of Spry Gum at your next visit to Powell & Tiller Dental Care.

Chewing Gum Helps Strengthen Tooth Enamel

Saliva contains necessary calcium and phosphate that strengthens tooth enamel. After a meal, reinforcing your enamel can be especially beneficial in fighting off bacteria and decay.

Look for Sugarless Gum with the ADA Seal

The ADA seal indicates that the gum has been tested and proven to do at least one or all of these three things: reduce plaque acids and cavities, promote remineralization of tooth enamel, and reduce gingivitis. If you want a sugarless gum you can trust to boost your oral health, look for the ADA seal.

Don't Stop Brushing and Flossing

Even though chewing sugar-free gum can aid in keeping your mouth healthy, it should never serve as a substitute for regular brushing and flossing. Your best defense against decay and dental disease is to brush teeth twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste as well as floss once daily!

Healthy Habits Make for a Healthy Mouth

Add chewing sugarless gum to your list of mouth-healthy habits! Along with daily brushing and flossing, chewing sugar-free gum after meals can help decrease your risk of cavities and strengthen tooth enamel. Of course, after that garlic pasta, fresher breath is an added bonus!

Our patients make our job worthwhile!