The Important Role Saliva Plays

The Important Role Saliva PlaysIf you drool at night, or if your partner does, then waking up to a drenched pillow might belie the fact that your saliva production is typically reduced when you sleep. While a dry pillow might seem like a much-appreciated relief, the truth is that the lack of saliva can have a greater effect on your dental health than you may realize. For patients whose saliva production is chronically lower than normal, that effect can become increasingly more prominent, and result in a number of worrisome dental health issues.

Saliva and Food

Your salivary glands are hard-wired to kick into gear when you eat, or when you smell or see something particularly appetizing. That’s because one of saliva’s main roles is to prepare your food for digestion by softening it and breaking it down. Enzymes in saliva make it easier for your digestive system to absorb the mineral and nutrients. After you’ve eaten, other of saliva’s ingredients help rinse away food particles and bacteria that could contribute to plaque formation.

When There Isn’t Enough Saliva

When one or more conditions cause your saliva flow to decrease or stop altogether, the resulting condition is known as xerostomia, or dry mouth. Because you may only have time to brush and floss your teeth twice a day, saliva is vital to inhibiting harmful plaque formation, which can harden into tartar and lead to issues like tooth decay and gum disease. Dry mouth can cause your oral tissues to feel dehydrated and uncomfortable, and the increased bacterial activity can often cause persistent bad breath.

Tips to Keep Saliva Flowing

If you suffer from dry mouth, then you should schedule a dental examination as soon as possible to determine why, and how best to address it. If it is temporary, then you may be able to find relief in a number of ways, such as;

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Refrain from sugary and acidic beverages, like sodas and fruit juices
  • Rinse your mouth for at least 30 minutes after eating, even snacks
  • Drink milk, which can help replenish some of your teeth’s minerals as well as relieve the dry sensation


Dr. Bob Jing has served patients and their families across Dallas/Ft. Worth for many years. Together with his caring, compassionate, and highly-skilled team at 7 Day Dental, Dr. Jing is dedicated to making good dental health available to as many people as possible. To learn more, or to schedule a consultation or appointment, contact our office closest to you at 817-405-2001 on Jacksboro Highway, or at 817-405-0195 on Seminary Drive.