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By Reston Family & Cosmetic Dentistry
April 27, 2015
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Saliva  

Saliva and Your TeethDiscover the wonders of saliva and how it can boost your oral health.

When it comes to the help of our smiles we often think about brushing and flossing and seeing our Reston dentist every six months for routine exams; however, did you realize that the health of your smile also rests on a naturally occurring substance found in your mouth? That’s right! Saliva plays a major role in your oral health. Find out more about the benefits of saliva and how it can keep your mouth happy and healthy.

What is so special about saliva?

Researchers once believed that the main purpose of the glycoproteins found in saliva was to keep mucus slippery; however, it seems that it plays an even bigger role than once thought. In fact, these salivary mucins actually protect teeth from cavities caused by the Streptococcus mutans bacterium. This study, conducted by researchers at Harvard University and MIT, also found that these glycoproteins prevent the Streptococcus mutans from creating a biofilm on teeth.

What is a biofilm?

Streptococcus mutans are a nasty bacterium that causes dental decay by latching on to teeth and creating a biofilm, a sticky substance from which the bacterium thrives. This bacterium will continue to grow within the biofilm, destroying healthy enamel and eventually causing cavities.

So, what exactly does this finding mean for your oral health?

This means that by supporting your body’s natural defenses you may actually be able to ward off tooth decay more effectively than other dental treatments like fluoride. Therefore, it’s important to promote healthy saliva production in order to reap all the health benefits. If you are experiencing dry mouth then it’s time to talk to your Reston dentist, as dry mouth can make you prone to dental infections and cavities.

Also, incorporate some of these salivary-producing foods into your diet:

  • Sour or tart fruits (e.g. lemons, grapefruit)
  • Cheese
  • Sum-free gum
  • Crunchy, fibrous fruits and vegetables

Avoid these saliva-zapping foods and drinks:

  • Alcohol (particularly red wine)
  • Coffee and tea
  • Soda
  • Sugary snacks and desserts
  • Salty foods

If you are suffering from dry mouth or just want to make sure that your smile is up to par, then schedule an appointment today at Reston Family & Cosmetic Dentistry. There is so much you can do to promote a healthier smile!

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