Saliva often gets a bad rap for being a bodily fluid we’d rather ignore, when in fact we should appreciate its importance to our oral health and everyday lives. It’s a natural painkiller, intensifies flavors, and even helps strengthen teeth! Here are five salivating facts that may just make you drool with appreciation.
It’s a Natural Painkiller
Did you know your saliva contains a potent painkiller? Human saliva is six times more powerful than morphine thanks to the pain-inhibiting compound opiorphin. Opiorphin is one of the few naturally produced compounds in the human body that extends the body’s self-defense mechanism against pain. Also, wounds in the mouth heal faster than elsewhere on the body thanks to saliva’s germ fighting antibodies.
Makes Food Taste Better
If you’ve ever basked in the joy of savoring a mouthwatering feast, you can thank saliva for the flavors dancing across your taste buds. Saliva acts like a solvent for your taste buds. It’s also the first step in the digestion process. After you take a bite, saliva breaks down food molecules releasing the flavors. It also helps lubricate the food allowing you to both enjoy the full flavors of your meal and swallow with ease.
It Has a Circadian Rhythm
Imagine how much drool we’d find on our pillow in the morning if we kept producing saliva after we went to sleep. Thankfully, the body knows to slow things down after dark. The pitfall? When you’re asleep bad bacteria builds up causing unpleasant morning breath. Once we begin slobbering again in the AM, however, our spit helps counteract the bacteria buildup that causes tooth decay. Saliva production also slows when we experience stress, nervousness or fear.
According to an article in Mental Floss, in Ancient India, people accused of lying were told to chew rice. They believed that if you had enough saliva to spit the rice back out then you were innocent. The guilty, however, were plagued with a dry mouth that caused the rice to stick to their throats due to the fear of getting caught.
Helps Keep Dental Troubles Away
Saliva consists of 99 percent water, calcium, fluoride and phosphate. Together, these components help strengthen teeth and protect against cavity-causing bacteria. Chewing helps to replenish saliva supply. Spit also prevents plaque buildup and shields enamel from acidic foods. It doesn’t replace trips to the dentist, but saliva is a great defender against everyday assaults to your oral health.
Still salivating with dental questions? Set up an appointment to chat with the friendly staff at TenderCare Dental. Our team of professionals approaches every exam with compassion and gentleness to ensure a positive experience. Have questions about how saliva can impact dental health? For more information about your mouth and how to keep it healthy, TenderCare Dental has you covered!