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Let’s Talk About Spit

added on: November 25, 2019
dental saliva instrument

We know it’s a pretty gross thing to talk about, but to your dentist in Tahoe, spit is a pretty important part of oral health. Even though it may be considered rude to spit, or maybe to even talk about it, this extra saliva plays a key role in keeping our mouths healthy. Here are some reasons spit is actually a good thing and not a gross thing (ok, it may still be gross). 

It’s a Super-Effective Cleaner

Food — it’s an important part of our lives. We need it to fuel our bodies, after all. But what happens inside our mouths as we’re chowing down? That’s where spit comes into play. When we chew, saliva is produced and it immediately helps break down food, making it more digestible. But the hard work doesn’t stop there. Spit continues to work long after we put our napkins down and pay the bill. You see, no matter what we’re eating, some food particles always stick around, either on the surfaces of teeth or in between them. Saliva helps clear the leftover food away before bacteria has a chance to attack. Bacteria love to feed on old foodstuffs left in our teeth, but it’s this bacteria that can lead to decay and cavities. Spit is crucial in helping remove both food sources and washing away bad bacteria.

Spit Neutralizes Acid

Plaque is a normal thing that builds up on our teeth and can cause trouble since plaque produces acid. Acid is bad news for the protective tooth enamel as it can wear it away and leave teeth exposed to bacteria. While brushing can help remove some of the plaque and decrease the risk for acid attacks, the dental cleanings you get from your Tahoe dentist will thoroughly eliminate the rest. But there’s another thing you have on your side that can help combat the dangers plaque buildup and the acid that comes along with it — spit. Saliva contains helpful molecules called “buffers” that are extremely good at neutralizing acid, washing it away, and protecting teeth.

It’s Great for Baby Teeth

When babies are teething, there is a constant, steady flow of drool. While this may be messy, know that the saliva is actually working hard to protect the tiny teeth that are getting ready to erupt through the gums. The enamel on baby teeth is not completely developed- which means teeth are at risk. But with the help of spit, any weak spots in the teeth that are not fully protected are flooded with calcium, phosphate, and fluoride which help build stronger teeth and fight off bad bacteria. 

Spit Can Fight Off Bacteria

Spit is also a powerful antibacterial agent with the power to destroy dangerous bacteria. This benefits both the teeth and the rest of the body, too. There’s even evidence of specific spit components that are particularly good at slowing the growth of a cavity-causing bacterial strain. Thank you, saliva!

So even though spit is a little gross, it’s something that we absolutely need. Without it, our teeth and overall oral health would be at risk. 

If you notice that your mouth feels dry or you suspect you may not be producing enough saliva, call your dentist in Tahoe to schedule an appointment.