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Tuesday, Jan. 20th 2015

Saliva: Protecting Teeth From Cavities

It’s long been known that saliva has a role in protecting teeth.  For example, the pH of saliva is sightly basic, which means taking steps to increase saliva can reduce acidity in the mouth.  Sugars and other chemicals can turn your mouth acidic, while drinking more water and chewing sugar-free gum increase saliva flow, which restores balance to your mouth.

Recently, scientists discovered another way saliva helps protect our teeth.  Salivary mucins, the 0.5% of saliva that isn’t water, helps prevent cavities by preventing oral bacteria from forming a biofilm over the teeth. Streptococcus Mutans causes tooth decay when it solidifies over the teeth as a biofilm. While the mucins in saliva do not decrease the amount of S. Mutans, it does keep S. Mutans in a suspended state where It can’t cause cavities.

So let’s be thankful for spit! Remember to keep saliva production high by drinking lots of water while and after you eat.  Also, because acids can weaken enamel, don’t brush your teeth right after eating desserts, candy, or energy drinks.  Instead, drink water or chew sugar-free gum, and brush later.,


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