While you probably don’t think about it, your body actually produces about 50 ounces of saliva a day. Even though the amount of saliva your body produces is probably an afterthought, it actually plays an important role in your health.
At McKinney Smiles, your dentist in McKinney, TX, Dr. Paul Lawrence, wants every patient to understand the role saliva plays in protect not only their oral health, but their overall health, as well.
For starters, saliva acts as a natural mouth disinfectant, according to the American Dental Association. It helps to maintain the health of your teeth and gums by preventing tooth decay and washing away food particles that linger in the mouth after eating. Saliva also carries substances that help fight disease that causes infection and cavities.
So while saliva keeps your mouth nice and tidy, the condition of your spit can also offer clues to other thing that are going on in your body. Keep an eye on the following signs.
Low Saliva Flow
There are a variety of factors that can cause you to suffer from low saliva flow, but one of the main culprits usually is medication. Over 300 different types of prescription medications, such as antihistamines and decongestant, list dry mouth as a potential symptom. The frequency of dry mouth tends to increase as an individual ages and health concerns require taking more medication.
If you’re taking a medication prescribed by your doctor and notice you feel parched more often than normal, make sure to mention your concern to Dr. Lawrence during your next appointment and take special care maintaining your dental hygiene practices to avoid cavities. The ADA recommends that patients of all ages brush at least twice a day and floss daily. You also need to schedule regular checkups with Dr. Lawrence to ensure you can maintain your oral health.
Pale and Clumpy
If the texture and color of your saliva changes, you may be suffering from an oral infection. The candid albicans fungus can cause a yeast infection to develop in your mouth, which is also referred to as thrush. While thrush rarely occurs in healthy adults, those who suffer from diabetes may be especially vulnerable since sugars in the saliva can lead to the growth of yeast. Dr. Lawrence can offer patients a variety of options to deal with thrush should you ever develop the condition.
Like taking a glimpse inside of your body, a saliva test can provide a lot of information about your genetic make-up and hormones. From cancer to diabetes, saliva holds promise as a diagnostic tool for disease, much like a vial of blood, suggests a new study recently published in Clinical Chemistry. A spit test can also assess your hormone levels for melatonin, found a study conducted at Northwestern University. That could provide doctors valuable insight into your body’s circadian rhythms, and make it easier for them to make recommendations on ways to improve how you eat, sleep and lose weight.
If you have any questions about what else saliva can tell you about your body, feel free to ask McKinney dentist Dr. Paul Lawrence during your next appointment at McKinney Smiles.