Bridge Dental Care

What Role Does Saliva Play in Digestion?

December 30, 2022
Posted By: Bridge Dental Care
Closeup of a woman smiling while receiving a dental cleaning and checkup at the dentist

Saliva is the watery liquid substance in your mouth that is produced by the salivary glands. Have you ever drooled during a nap or spit on someone while speaking? While saliva may occasionally cause you some embarrassing moments, it is an essential part of the digestive process, remineralizes and strengthens your teeth, and helps prevent bad breath and uncomfortable mouth dryness.

What Is Saliva?

Your saliva is clear because it is 98% water. It contains important substances like antibacterial compounds, minerals, enzymes, and more. Saliva moistens the mouth for comfort, lubricates as you swallow, helps break down food, and neutralizes harmful acids. On average, a person produces two to four pints of saliva every day.

Saliva and Digestion

Saliva has many benefits for both the teeth and for digestion. The elements in saliva help protect against gum disease, tooth decay, and other oral issues. An enzyme known as amylase in saliva plays an important role when it comes to digestion. Digestion begins in the mouth with chewing. When amylase breaks down starch, maltose, and dextrose into smaller molecules, it helps you to safely swallow food and prepares it to be properly broken down and absorbed farther along in the digestive tract.

What Will Happen If I Don’t Have Enough Saliva?

Producing enough saliva is beneficial in many ways! But some patients don’t produce enough saliva. Mouth discomfort, gum disease, decay, difficulty swallowing, and poor digestion can be experienced if you don’t produce saliva. If this happens, there are some things you can do:

  • Drink more water
  • Chew sugar-free gum or suck on sugar-free candy
  • Brush and floss every day
  • Rinse with a mouthwash specially-formulated to combat dry mouth
  • Maintain regular exams and cleanings
  • Limit foods that are salty, spicy, or highly acid

Schedule Your an Appointment at Bridge Dental Care!

Do you think you’re experiencing dry mouth? Please schedule a dental visit with our team. We can examine your mouth and help you find solutions to help you feel more comfortable. Be sure to check out our other blog posts for additional informative topics!


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