While your child’s teeth and gums are the parts of their mouth that we typically pay attention to, their saliva is also a key player in the production of a healthy smile. Indeed, without proper saliva production, their smile health can actually suffer. Today we want to give you an overview of the role of healthy saliva production in your child’s oral health.
What is saliva’s job in the mouth?
Saliva works to wash away food particles, moistens and breaks down the foods eaten and helps them taste and swallow. Not only that, saliva produces disease-fighting agents that prevent tooth decay and oral infections. Saliva also secretes high levels of calcium, fluoride and phosphate ions that directly benefit the teeth.
What is saliva comprised of and how is it released into the mouth?
Saliva is created from blood and maintains the healthy soft and hard tissues in the mouth. Insufficient saliva production actually increases the risk of tooth decay. There are three salivary glands on each side of the mouth:
- The parotid gland up high in the cheek, secreting saliva just above the upper molars.
- The submandibular gland lies deep in the jawbone alongside the bottom teeth, secreting saliva beneath the tongue.
- The sublingual gland sits beneath the tip of the tongue, secreting saliva near the front of the tongue’s bottom surface.
How are proper levels of saliva maintained?
The most effective way to create saliva production is to chew, as this action causes the muscles to compress and release saliva. Drinking plenty of fluids to stay hydrated, such as water is key. Your child can also chew sugar-free gum or mints to stimulate saliva production. Our dentist may also prescribe artificial saliva rinse or spray to help moisten their mouth.
We hope this information is useful, as it reiterates the proper care of a healthy smile. If you have any questions, Dr. Jessie Hunter and our team are always here for your child’s best oral health. To schedule your child’s next visit, please call Allen Pediatric Dentistry in Allen, Texas, at 972-535-8169 today!