Why Saliva is Important for Optimal Oral Health

water aids saliva
Young woman drinking pure glass of water

Making sure you are hydrated is important for your body and for your oral health. Your body needs water to do its job and your oral cavity needs water to do its job. So, what does your oral health have to do with being hydrated? We can tell you in one word; saliva.

Saliva is crucial to your oral health. Without it, you will not only have gum problems, but problems with your teeth as well. If those two reasons aren’t enough to convince you, we will give you one more reason. If you don’t produce enough saliva you will have bad breath. No one wants their co-workers backing away from them when they talk.

What Does Saliva Do for Me?

Saliva is a crucial part of keeping your teeth strong and your gums healthy. When you eat or drink, remnants of the food or drink, stay on your teeth.

This is what you brush away with your toothbrush. But you can’t brush your teeth constantly. That is why you have saliva.

Saliva is like your body’s own mouthwash. It cleans the acids away from your teeth and gums until it is time for you to brush again. It has properties that neutralize the effects of the bacteria that live naturally in your mouth.

Most people at some time or another have experienced dry mouth. That is what we call it when you don’t produce enough saliva. You may also have noticed that when you have dry mouth your teeth may feel a little slimy and your tongue may feel strange. The roof of your mouth may also feel a little sticky.

You don’t normally feel like this. That is because normally you have sufficient saliva to clean away all of the gunk accumulating in your mouth over the day, in between brushings. If you stay sufficiently hydrated, you won’t have these problems.

What to do if you have dry mouth

Dry mouth can occur even if you drink plenty of liquids. Medications and diseases like Sjogrens syndrome and diabetes can cause dry mouth. There is an over the counter spray we recommend for our patients called Biotene. It can freshen your breath and alleviate some of the symptoms of dry mouth. People who suffer from dryness should also visit their dentist more frequently. The risk of decay increases dramatically in people with dry mouth.  We routinely put our patients at risk for decay on prescription fluoride.  This reduces the risk of decay by making your teeth stronger.

If you have to take medication that causes dry mouth, you should drink more liquids than usual to compensate for the medication.Please contact us at if you have any questions.

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