8 things you Didn’t Know about your Spit
Saliva is an essential part of your dental health and is responsible for many other mechanisms in the body from helping us taste to containing a natural painkiller.
It may end up crusted on our pillows but there are many other weird and wonderful properties of saliva that play a role in our everyday lives.
All about Saliva:
- The average person produces enough saliva in a day to fill a bathtub. We produce most of this saliva in the late afternoon and production stops at night. When our saliva production stops for the night, we develop dry mouth, and this is why we wake up with ‘morning breath’.
- Saliva contains enzymes that fight certain bacteria in our mouths, which protects us from tooth decay. Bacteria also get trapped in saliva and swallowed down to our digestive systems where they can not survive.
- This thick liquid keeps our mouths moist during the day, which aids in the prevention of bad breath. Saliva also dissolves stray food particles that get stuck in our teeth, which may cause plaque or create foul breath.
- We need saliva to taste our food. We would be unable to taste anything if our food did not dissolve in saliva so that our tastes buds can recognise the flavor.
- Saliva also consists of antibodies, which helps wounds heal faster. This is why wounds in the mouth heal faster than anywhere else on the body.
- Saliva can be used in the diagnosis of some diseases, and to analyse or monitor alcohol or drug intake.
- Exposure to acids in our food and drink slowly demineralizes our tooth enamel. Saliva is able to combat these effects by remineralising the enamel. Saliva can do this through the calcium and phosphate ions it contains.
- Saliva contains a natural painkiller called Opiorphin. It is one of the few compounds that are found naturally in the body that assist the body’s pain mechanisms. It is also six times more effective than morphine!
To ensure you keep your saliva production levels at optimum rates, it is recommended to stay hydrated during the day, maintain your dental hygiene, chew sugar-free or xylitol gum, and keep regular dentist appointments.