Why is saliva so important?
Saliva (your ‘spit’) plays a very important role in oral health. We need saliva to moisten our mouth, allowing us to talk and swallow comfortably. It also is essential for clearing sugars and acids from our mouths. Saliva can also buffer (or chemically reverse) the acid produced by bacteria on the tooth surface. It also contains the same essential minerals that are in tooth and allows them to remineralise or strengthen again after acid attacks.
All this natural protection goes on everyday, and it is often a case of ‘you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone’. Many conditions and medications can affect the quality and quantity of saliva, and without it, the balance or remineralisation goes in favour to the bacteria, acids and destruction of teeth.
If Dr Wainwright believes your saliva quality may be affecting your dental health, she may conduct some simple tests on a sample of your saliva. The sample allows your dentist to see a number of important things like acidity, ability to neutralise mouth acids and how much harmful bacteria is present in your mouth. Depending on the results we can then target ways of improving your saliva and natural protection back to health.