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Saliva: functions and curiosities

Saliva test

How are you? Your saliva tells you. From a careful analysis, in fact, you can obtain indications on the general state of health (the possible presence of diseases) and on the oral one.

Saliva is a natural disinfectant: it preserves the gums, prevents tooth decay, defends the oral cavity from infections. Oral hygiene acquires a crucial importance in the defense of the general state of health and saliva, if carefully evaluated, allows to receive some important signals on how the individual is, his teeth and the whole mouth.

Saliva knows your health

There is information about you that does not escape your saliva: from the presence of pathologies to genetic and hormonal constitution. Saliva is a bit of a detective by vocation. And precisely at a hormonal level there is some important information of which saliva can be revealed: through saliva it is possible to obtain a series of information on melatonin present (which can affect the biological sleep-wake rhythm) and, based on these, have useful tips for regulating sleep and weight loss.

The importance of saliva

The buffering capacity of saliva is called buffering capacity and consists of the power of saliva to counteract acid attacks without altering the neutral pH of the mouth which, when high, can be harmful to tooth enamel to the point of erosion.
The role of saliva can be summarized in a few points:

  • contains proteins and minerals that preserve tooth enamel avoiding the formation of caries and gum disease;
  • promotes chewing, taste perception and swallowing;
  • counteracts the germs present in the oral cavity and prevents bad breath;
  • maintains firm positioning of any dental prostheses.

Salivary signals

Our saliva sends signals, what useful information can we deduce from it?

Dry mouth may indicate attack by foreign agents. Patients who experience some ‘dry mouth’ will need to drink more and pay more attention to oral hygiene. In such conditions, in fact, the subject has painful and swollen gums.

The acidic mouth, when the pH of saliva is higher than 7, can lead to the proliferation of bacteria in the cavities between one tooth and another. When the acidity level of saliva is very high there is a risk of tooth erosion. In this case, a lower consumption of red meat or poultry, foods rich in arginine is recommended.

Is the saliva white? Oral infection may be taking place.

Saliva in large quantities could indicate the presence of a pregnancy. Expectant women, in fact, produce more saliva which would be explained by the hormonal alteration in place or be the side effect of nausea. The higher salivation has no particular effects.

Bitter taste in the mouth? Possible presence of gastroesophageal reflux with the rise of gastric juices inside the esophagus which, often, is accompanied by heartburn. Può accadere saltuariamente, ma se il problema persiste, è consigliabile cambiare stile di vita e alimentazione. Experts advise losing weight and avoiding spicy, high-fat foods.

To maintain the health of the salivary glands, it is recommended to drink water, chew gum or suck sugar-free candies.

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