Like a machine that can not work without the help of oil, as it is also the mouth without saliva. Few people realize the importance of saliva in a life of existence, but without which life can be uncomfortable. Saliva in the language of medicine is called saliva. Not only serves to aid in the mastication and digestion, saliva protects the teeth by helping prevent caries, adjust the acidity of the oral cavity, and prevents the microorganisms grow uncontrollably.
Saliva is produced and excreted by the salivary glands, and passed into the oral cavity through a channel. Each day, saliva excreted up to 0.5 – 1.5 liter by the three major salivary glands around the mouth and throat. Glands are:
• parotid gland -> channel (ductal saliva) glands empty into the near top gear
• submandibular gland -> salivary duct empties under the tongue
• sublingual gland -> salivary duct empties into the floor of the mouth
In the mouth there is also a small salivary gland (minor salivary glands) are scattered on the lips, the inside of the cheek (buccal mucosa), palate (palate), which amounted to 600 in normal circumstances. Under certain conditions, the production or flow can be reduced from the normal saliva and cause dry mouth conditions. The conditions in medicine is called Xerostomia.
What makes the saliva so important for our bodies?
Saliva as automatic carwash
Saliva has a self-cleansing effect. Imagine a car that every day exposed to dust and dirt on the road and not washed for several days, how much dirt on the surface. In the presence of saliva, the flow is clean food debris from the oral cavity and brought into the esophagus to swallow. The flow of saliva decreases during sleep, especially during the night. Therefore, we often feel dry mouth and smell less pleasant when you just woke up. Usually this kind of bad breath will go away after drinking water immediately after waking.
In people who have a habit of chewing on one side, the side that was used tended to be more dirty than the side that used to chew, marked by the number of accumulated plaque and tartar are usually many forms. This condition is caused by movements of mastication and the presence of food stimulates the salivary glands. This also explains why when people are fasting dry mouth, because almost no movement at all and do not chew any food stimulates saliva. The average person eating 3 times a day, not to mention a light snack between meals. Foods that contain carbohydrates that we consume or the acid will cause increased acidity in the mouth, while the dental tissue is soluble in acidic conditions. In this case the saliva plays an important role in regulating the acidity of the pH of the mouth, where saliva acts as a buffer.
Dry mouth (Xerostomia)
Saliva production may decline due to several reasons, to make the mouth becomes dry conditions. On a dry mouth conditions, dental caries is more apt to occur because there is no saliva to clean the plaque should be gathered on the tooth surface. A dry mouth condition also tends to make the breath smell.
Along with age, the less saliva produced. This condition is mainly caused by the reduction in salivary gland function due to the aging process.
Patients with cancer of the mouth and neck (head & neck cancer) is typically treated with radiotherapy. Radiation in the area can damage the salivary glands so it can not function normally. Damage to salivary glands can also be caused by certain diseases such as Sjogren syndrome, an autoimmune disease that causes dryness of the eyes and mouth. However, salivary gland damage as most of the side effects of drugs consumed continuously. These drugs include some medicines for heart disease, antihistamines (anti allergic), and antidepressants.
Damage to the salivary glands can be caused due to several causes, including obstruction or blockage of the flow of saliva which generally occur in the parotid and submandibular glands caused the rock formed. Symptoms are usually realized at the time of eating, in which saliva, stimulated by the presence of food but not biased because of clogged drain rock. This can cause swelling of the salivary glands are clogged and cause pain, sometimes accompanied by infection. When the old left untreated, can occur abscess (pus-filled swelling) in the salivary glands.
Salivary gland tumors may also occur, with symptoms of swelling that is rarely accompanied by pain. These tumors can be benign or malignant, and is rarely attacked more than one gland. If there is enlargement of the salivary gland, immediately consult a dentist or ENT specialist. Malignant tumors that develop rapidly, it can happen that severe pain, and can cause loss of movement to the entire face or side of the face exposed.
People suffering from xerostomia (dry mouth), which weight could be awakened in the middle of the night because of discomfort caused by these circumstances. Also be hard to swallow food due to lack of lubricant effect of saliva. People often do not realize the importance of saliva, until something happens that causes the flow of saliva is reduced and the mouth becomes dry. When you have events, things to do is reduce the food and beverages high in sugar content and acidity.
To stimulate saliva flow, it is advisable to drink lots of water, chewing sugar-free chewing gum or candy is low in sugar. Avoid fruit acid, caffeine and alcohol. Alcohol contained in mouthwash can also cause dryness of the mouth when not used as recommended, therefore, consumers demanded keen in choosing the product. If there are indications that the mouth is often dry, you should avoid mouthwash that contains alcohol. Choose a toothpaste with fluoride content is high enough so that it can help the mineralization of teeth. In addition it is important to note when brushing your teeth, where time is crucial brush your teeth before bed because of decreased salivary flow during sleep, as already mentioned above.
Patients belonging to the elderly, especially those using dentures also deserves more attention. Lack of salivary flow due to aging, especially in people who use false teeth are vulnerable to fungal growth, under the areas in contact with the denture base.
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