Healthy Human Saliva

Whether you call it spit, drool, or saliva do you ever think about it? What is its purpose? How your daily lifestyle affects the quality of your saliva?

Saliva is made up of 99.5% water plus electrolytes, mucus, white blood cells, epithelial cells, enzymes, antimicrobial agents and lysozymes.  It has multiple purposes: lubrication, digestion, antimicrobial action, buffering, hormone regulation and taste sensation. The pH of healthy saliva should be neutral or slightly alkaline, 7.4 just like blood.  Anything you ingest, eat, or drink can change the quality, quantity and pH of the saliva.

In the dental field a common question we get from patients is “Why am I getting cavities?”  Through education and discussion with patients we can bring awareness to cavity causing habits someone may not know they have. An imbalance happens when the pH of saliva drops below 5.5.  Take drinking bottled water into consideration, all water is good right? Wrong, the pH of bottled water can vary from acidic to alkaline.  Common water brands pH range from acidic to alkaline: Dsani=3.04, Aquafina=5.35, Smartwater=6.7 and Fiji=7.6 just to name a few.  Adding lemon to water can drop the pH due to lemon juice having a pH of 3.0. Several brands of water have started placing the pH of the product on the label which does help the consumer.  If there is ever a question regarding the pH of the water you are drinking the internet is a great source and there is the option to do your own at home testing.

Other common drinks that we encounter often are coffee (pH 5), Coke (pH 2.7), Diet Coke (pH 3.14), and Gatorade (pH 2.95). Rampant decay is common for little league kids up to professional athletes due to the sports drinks consumed during practices and games.

How long does it take you to drink that tasty cup of joe in the morning or the ice cold drink for Sonic? If you are a sipper, this is where it get concerning from a dental perspective.  The longer you sip equals the longer the oral cavity is in an acidic environment dissolving the enamel on the teeth.  If you must have that soda, Gatorade or coffee; drink it fast and no more than one per day.

Happy teeth allow you to eat nutritious unprocessed foods. Eating healthy can help you combat mood swings, diabetes, boost your immune response, and prevent other various chronic illnesses.

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