Monthly Archives: January 2012

Saliva protects and helps repair our teeth

Had no idea how important my saliva is to my teen. Teeth constantly on the mend from the effects of acid-producing bacteria that set up housekeeping in our mouths, saliva is a fabulous fluid. Saliva protects and helps repair our teeth from the constant assaults that bacteria and our diet together mount against our tooth enamel. But more than 600 medications cause dry mouth, reducing saliva flow or even turning off the spigot and leaving millions of people at increased risk for tooth decay. “Our saliva washes away sugars and other substances that help promote cavities. It neutralizes the acids in our mouths,” says Watson. “And it’s concentrated with minerals like calcium and phosphate. When you eat sugar, bacteria on your teeth produce acid that demineralizes the teeth a little bit, but then the saliva flows in and replaces the layer that has been removed.”

The effect of a dry mouth on tooth decay is not as well known as it should be, Watson says. “Most patients and doctors are not aware of the problem.” Dental researchers say millions of people
are at heightened risk for tooth decay because of the medicines they take. Watson says the problem is particularly common among the elderly, many of whom take several medications that stem the flow of saliva.

“A dry mouth can start an unfortunate cycle. To make his mouth feel better, the person starts drinking liquids constantly, oftentimes juices or colas that contain sugar and are acidic. That just promotes tooth
decay. If you start sipping those all day, you end up in trouble.” Brushing your teeth after each meal and after sweet drinks like sodas can be very beneficial to keeping your teeth healthy.  Don’t let your mouth stay dry, can cause decay.