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Do you really know the importance of saliva? It plays such an important role in our body.
Saliva composes of 99% water and approximately 1% of inorganic ions and secretary proteins etc.
Functions of Saliva:
1) It helps in lubrication of the oral mucosa.
2) It helps in buffering as it maintains pH balance and also neutralizes acids.
3)It has an antimicrobial activity.
4) It helps in digestion as well, it acts mainly on digestion of carbohydrates and triglycerides.
5) It helps in tissue repair or wound healing of oral mucosa.
6) It also helps in the maintenance of taste buds.
There are others so many secondary functions as well.
Did you know? An individual secretes approximately 600-1000 ml of saliva per day.
But with age, especially in older persons, gradually we can see a decrease in the production of saliva. The condition which leads to a decrease in secretion or production of saliva is known as Dry mouth (Xerostomia)
What Is Dry mouth (Xerostomia)?
Reduction in the volume of secreted saliva leads to the sensation of dryness of mouth and is known as Xerostomia.
Reasons for Dry Mouth:
– It is most commonly seen as a side effect of any medication taken by the patient
– Radiation therapy or chemotherapy in head and neck cancer is the most common reason leading to dryness of the mouth.
– Any destruction of salivary gland tissue also could be a reason (submandibular, parotid and sublingual are the glands which basically secrete saliva)
Treatment of Xerostomia
Temporary relief can be achieved by frequent sipping of water and artificial saliva solutions are also available, that is instilled into the mouth to coat the mucosa.
Water is the main constituent of saliva which aids 99%. So drinking water is very important to stay healthy.
Saliva basically maintains the well being of the mouth and most importantly protects the oral mucosa. So stay hydrated, stay healthy.
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