Saliva- Your Magical Defence Against Cavities

MAGICAL-DEFENCE-AGAINST-CAVITIES

Saliva is an important part of a healthy body. It is mostly made of water, but also contains important substances that your body needs to digest food and keep your teeth healthy and strong. This clear fluid, that is usually taken for granted, has almost magical qualities when it comes to teeth.

Saliva is important because:

  •  It keeps your mouth moist and comfortable
  • It helps you chew, taste, and swallow
  • It fights germs in your mouth and prevents bad breath
  • It has proteins and minerals that protect tooth enamel and prevent tooth decay and gum disease.

Below are some facts about saliva and how it helps prevent cavities.

A] What is Saliva?

Saliva is 98% of water. It contains tiny amounts of useful substances like mucus, proteins, minerals, electrolytes, antibacterial compounds and enzymes. Saliva moistens your mouth to create a comfortable environment, lubricates your food while chewing. It also prevents tooth decay, bad breath, gum diseases, and speeds up wound healing.

Saliva originates in three major pairs of salivary glands, and in hundreds of minor salivary glands that surround the oral cavity. The major salivary glands responsible for most of the saliva production are:

  • Parotid glands: These are some of the largest glands. They are located over each cheek, over the jaw, and in front of the ears.
  • Submandibular glands: These glands are situated at the back of the mouth on both sides of the jaw.
  • Sublingual glands: These glands are located under the floor of the mouth.

These tiny salivary ducts carry saliva from the glands to your mouth. Small amounts of saliva are constantly entering your mouth to keep it moist. The salivary glands are triggered when you are eating food, or even when you are just thinking about it. An average person is known to produce 2-4 pints of saliva daily.

B] Why is Saliva Important for Dental Health?

Saliva protects your mouth from several gum diseases, tooth decay and various oral infection. As saliva moves across the mouth, it sweeps away all the small particles from between the teeth preventing tooth decay. Saliva also helps moisten the food while making it easy to swallow and enhances its taste. It also provides disease-fighting substances that prevent cavities.

Further ReadingWays your dental health can affect you

  • What is Xerostomia (Dry Mouth)?

 Some people may not be able to make enough saliva, resulting in a dry mouth. It could also happen due to certain illnesses and medicines that affect the production of saliva. This condition is known as Xerostomia.

A dry mouth causes gums, tissues and tongue to become swollen and uncomfortable. Germs tend to flourish in such an environment, and a mouth full of germs & bacteria can easily cause several mouth-related diseases.

A dry mouth makes you more vulnerable to tooth decay and gum diseases such as periodontitis. If you have a dry mouth, you may notice that swallowing and digesting food becomes difficult. Dry mouth is common in old people - the reason yet unclear. But poor nutrition, consumption of certain medications are believed to play a significant role in it.

  1. Causes of Xerostomia
  • Certain diseases like HIV/AIDs, Sjogren’s syndrome and diabetes
  • A blockage in one or more tubes affecting the saliva (saliva duct obstruction)
  • Chemotherapy and radiation therapy
  • Smoking
  • Dehydration
  • A structural problem with the salivary glands
  1. Preventive measure/treatments for Xerostomia
  • Drink plenty of water every day. Chewing sugar-free gum or sugar-free candy mints can help create more saliva.
  • Maintaining good dental health is also necessary. Brushing and flossing every day helps keep the germs away. Ask the dentist to recommend a good fluoride toothpaste.
  • Consult with a healthcare provider to determine if medications are causing dry mouth.
  • Avoid foods that are salty, spicy and acidic as they can irritate and dry your mouth. Limit your caffeine and alcohol
  • Choose food that is soft & smooth to eat. Try making foods that have broth or sauces.

D] When You Have Too Much Saliva

Too much saliva is normally not something to worry about. It is common for the body to make more or less saliva depending on what you are eating or drinking. Also, your body takes care of excess saliva by swallowing it.

Reasons you could make more saliva are:

  • One salivary gland is more active than the other
  • You have some problems swallowing your food

Your mouth prepares more saliva when you eat spicy foods as the taste buds located on your tongue play a huge part in creating saliva. While having something spicy or sour, your tongue reacts by telling your body to make more saliva. Acidic foods can also trigger more saliva. But if the excess saliva is causing discomfort, consult with a dentist or a healthcare provider as it could be a side-effect of medication or a medical condition. Also, chronic drooling is found in people who have poor muscle control in the face and mouth area.

  1. Health Conditions That Can Cause Too Much Saliva

  • Parkinsons’s disease
  • Pregnancy(normally in women with extreme nausea and vomiting)
  • Stroke or extreme fatigue
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • An enlarged tongue ( macroglossia)
  • Rabies
  • Poisoning
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Bell’s Palsy
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  1. Preventive Measures/Treatments

Excess saliva can be treated through prescribed medication. Some common side-effects of these medications could be urinating, fast heartbeat, dizziness, blurred vision and sleepiness. In severe cases, surgery could be performed to remove the salivary gland or re-route the salivary duct.

E] How Can Saliva Prevent Cavities?

  • Cleansing: Chewing helps with the digestion process, but it can leave small particles of debris stuck in between the This debris settles down and becomes a part of the dental plague, creating an ideal ground for disease-causing bacteria. Saliva helps get rid of such debris, preventing the teeth from cavities. It also helps rinse away sugary substances, which are a primary source of harmful bacteria.
  • Protection: Saliva has antibodies such as Immunoglobulin - a protein-based antibody that acts as the primary source of protection. This helps in fighting disease-causing microorganisms. Saliva acts as the first line of defence against various bacteria and organisms. It consists of another protein - also found in our tears - known as lactoferrin. This protein prevents bacterial growth.
  •  Buffering: The major enemy of tooth enamel is mouth acid. This acid is produced from the bacteria and the food we consume. Saliva helps neutralise the acids, maintaining a healthy pH level. It can help buffer the acid and restore the balance within an hour or thirty minutes of eating.
  • Re-mineralisation: It is quite common for the acid to build up in your mouth after eating, leaching minerals from the tooth enamel. This process is known as de-mineralisation, wherein the tooth becomes softer and weaker. In this state, the saliva helps restore the lost minerals while neutralising the acid. This re- mineralisation strengthens the enamel preventing tooth decay or cavities.

#Quantity and Quality of Saliva

There are two factors to consider about saliva, in defence against dental cavities.

  • Are your glands producing adequate quantity of saliva?
  • Does it have adequate buffering capacity?

Having a salivary test at the dentist is an important part of your oral examination. Saliva-Check BUFFER is an examination tool that is used to educate patients, assist in preventive treatment planning and helps initiate changes in the patient’s oral hygiene. This product plays a significant role in maintaining oral health.

It identifies, measures and assesses the patient’s saliva condition, which helps determine the body’s possible risk of caries. It is also helpful for testing hydration, salivary consistency, resting pH, stimulated saliva flow, stimulated pH and saliva buffering capacity.

GET YOUR SALIVA TESTED TODAY AT ORIS DENTAL

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10/7 Nicklin Way

Minyama QLD 4575, Australia

Opening Hours

Mon - Fri: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM

Book Appointment

(07) 5444 4308 & 1300 70 60 90

Send Us An Email

dentist@orisdental.com.au

Adarsh (Principal Dentist)

Adarsh

Adarsh (A-Dash) is the principal dentist at Oris Dental. Adarsh graduated as a dentist in 1996 from the University of Mumbai (Bombay, India). He entered private practice as an assistant dentist in one of the leading practices in Mumbai from 1996-2002. The practice offered all aspects of dentistry with the exception of Orthodontics. This prompted Adarsh to pursue a post graduate degree in Orthodontics and successfully completed the 3 year Full time the master’s program from University of Mumbai (Bombay, India) in 2005. Since then, Adarsh has been in private practice both as a general dentist and an orthodontist. He also served as teaching faculty at University in Mumbai for 3 yrs and when in India, he has been ‘the dentist’ to many dentists!! In 2008, Adarsh took the Australian Dental Council exam for direct recognition of his skill in Australia. He successfully completed the exams in the first attempt and moved to Australia early 2009. He has been in private practice in Australia since Jan 2009. Oris Dental was set up in Minyama in 2011. Oris Dental is now over 8 years old and is growing to be a well-respected practice in the area. He is particularly interested in Cosmetic dentistry Dental implants and Orthodontics. Adarsh hopes to use all the experience he has gained in the past 22 years, to offer the best in dentistry to all his patients in this practice. Adarsh believes in spreading smiles and has successfully designed smiles and in doing so improved the lives and self-confidence of many Sunshine Coast locals (Take a look at our Smile gallery!). Adarsh is an active member of the Australian Dental Association since 2009 He held the post of Senior Lecturer in Orthodontics in Mumbai University before moving to Australia. He is a Life member of the Indian Dental Association, serving as the General Secretary of the Association (Mumbai City Chapter) 2007-2009 He is Life member of the Indian Orthodontic Society. He is Candidate for Membership Examination MRACDS (Ortho) and plans to complete his membership exams soon. Adarsh is also currently pursuing his Diploma in Implant dentistry at the Royal College of Surgeons(Edinburgh). Adarsh has recently complete intensive training in implant placement and restoration in Neoss and TRI (Swiss) Implant system. He is married to Prachi for 15yrs and they have a 11 yr old son – Aarjav, a little daughter Aria who has just started prep and Daisy the mad Lab pup! He is currently learning to play Tennis and Badminton and loves watching the cricket!

Prachi (Owner/ Dentist)

Prachi

Prachi is the director, part time dentist at Oris Dental. Prachi graduated in 2002 from Nair hospital dental college, Mumbai (Bombay, India), one of the leading dental schools in Asia. She then worked in multiple private practices across Mumbai (Bombay, India). While working as a dentist in various practices she picked up the positives from them and implemented them into this practice at Oris Dental. She is very friendly by nature and is particularly good at handling children, preventive dentistry and hygiene. Prachi moved to Australia in 2009. Prachi has there on completed her Australian Dental council exams successfully in early 2011 and is now ready to bring in her 12 years of experience to Oris Dental. Prachi also serves as a part time dentist at the Oral Health Services Sunshine Coast in Caloundra Kawana and Nambour as needed.

Davina (Dentist)

Davina

Davina has been a part of our family since 2014. After completing her bachelor’s degree from the University of Queensland, Davina has been in private practice in an around the Sunshine coast for a year before joining us full time. Davina shows exemplary skills in building a great relationship and rapport with her patients and is well regarded by her peers. Davina is very highly regarded by her current patients. Davina currently works 3 days a week.

Lise Slack (Dental Hygienist)

Lise Stack

Our dental hygienist Lise Slack is a trained member of the dental team who works together with your dentist in preventing gum diseases and dental decay.

Lise joined OrisDental in 2015 and has worked extensively in private specialist practices. She graduated from the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa in 1982 and has had specific training and exposure to an extensive range of periodontal conditions and treatment modalities.

Lise’s dad was a professor in dentistry and this is where her love of teeth comes from. She has invented two specialist oral care products which are available in Australia and several international countries. Lise has also lectured at international dental conferences on the maintenance of dental implants and how to help patients care for their teeth once they have contracted periodontitis.

Both adults and children can benefit from having an appointment with a dental hygienist as they are taught how dental diseases occur and how it can be prevented or managed.

Lise is married to Sam and they have two daughters. They value their family time and love adventurous outdoor sports.

Jesse (Dental Assistant)

Jesse (Dental Assistant)

Jess has been a part of Oris Dental from the outset in 2011. Always cheerful and welcoming Jess is the star amongst our patients at our practice. If you cannot find Jess in the practice she will be at the beach!

 

Kaela (Receptionist)

Debra (Receptionist)

Kaela arrived at our practice in early 2021. Coming from eight years of retail experience in Northern NSW, she loves working with people and assisting in any way she can. Kaela has also just finished her training as a dental assistant. You will immediately fall in love with her happy, bubbly personality.

Abby (Sr. Dental Assistant)

Abby (Dental Assistant)

Abby is originally from Hervey Bay, but she has been calling the Sunshine Coast home with her husband and two kids for the past four and a half years. Abby completed her cert III in dental assisting in 2015 and is looking to further her studies In the near future. Abby enjoys camping, playing guitar, and travelling
the world with her family.

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    Dr. Param Dass

    Dr. Param Dass

    Param Dass graduated with a Bachelor in Dentistry from the University of Otago, NZ in 2005. He went on to complete his Bachelor in Medicine from the University of Auckland NZ in 2010.

    Param started working part time in our practice since 2015 with special interest in surgical procedures including Dental implants and bone grafting procedures, Surgical extractions including Wisdom teeth and other minor surgical procedures.

    Param is well known for being gentle and caring in treating patients with dental anxiety and maintains a calm demeanour.

    He is also well trained in working with patients with various levels of anxiety, offering dental treatment under Happy Gas, Twilight sedation or under Full general anaesthetic.

    Dr. Brayden Fracchia

    Dr. Brayden Fracchia

    Brayden hails from North Queensland, having completed his Bachelor of Dental Surgery at JCU Cairns, practicing in Hobart and outreach dentistry from Mount Isa over the course of his studies. He has worked with us since 2020. Brayden enjoys becoming a part of a community and enjoys the outdoors and sport in his spare
    time. Having only recently moved to the beautiful Sunshine Coast, Brayden is enthusiastic and well versed in all aspects of basic general dentistry and looks forward to bringing North Queensland hospitality to the South East.

    Briar

    Briar

    Briar stated off as a trainee dental assistant in our practice mid-2020. She is the youngest member of our practice and is rapidly becoming an integral part of team Oris. Briar completed her Certificate 3 in our practice in 2021 and works full time Dental assistant at Oris Dental.

    Drew

    Drew

    Drew is Oris Dental’ newest member, who has only recently moved from his hometown of Rockhampton. He is our Oral Health Therapist, who specializes in oral health education, general check-ups, fillings and more!
    He loves a good chat and a laugh at work. He prioritizes patient’s comfort and likes to encourage an environment where everyone feels a sense of security and safety in the dental setting. When Drew isn’t at work you’ll find him having a refreshing swim at the beach or having his usual dirty chai at his local cafe.

    Jasmine

    Jasmine

    Jasmine joined our practice in November 2021 and works with our Oral Health Therapist Drew. Jasmine is new to dental assistance, however is quickly taking on any and all challenges that come her way! She loves animals, and spending quality time with her husband and two kids. Welcome to the team!

    Brooke

    Brooke

    Brooke is originally from Brisbane but has been living on the coast since 2017. She brings over 15 years of experience in the dental industry and has had the opportunity to work in London and Melbourne for the Royal Flying Doctors. Brooke enjoys surfing, scuba diving and exploring the many things that the Sunny Coast has to offer.