Chewing is a lot like breathing; it is something we just do.
Saliva, also known as Spit, is something we take for granted and don’t think much about it. Yet it plays a vital role in our digestive system. The primary purpose of the saliva is lubrication, which makes it easier to swallow and digest the food we eat.
Saliva is the clear liquid in your mouth, and it’s produced 24 hours a day, every day. It’s made up mostly of water, just like the rest of our body, it also contains mucus, proteins, minerals, and a digestive enzyme called amylase.
The salivary glands produce saliva. We have three major glands They secrete about 2 to 4 pints (or about 1 to 2 liters)
- There are two parotid glands one on each side they are found on the inside of each cheek, located by your upper molars near the ear (par- = next to, -otid = ear). They are the largest salivary glands in your mouth.
- The sublingual gland is under the tongue. When you gleek, this is the gland responsible.
- The submandibular gland is in the shape of a “U.” It is under the chin bone, which is called the mandible.
Their job is to maintain moisture, around the cheeks, lips, and tongue at all times, but the real work begins when you eat, smell, or even think about food. When this happens, larger amounts of saliva are released into the mouth in preparation for breaking down and digesting your food.
The digestive process starts in your mouth, believe it or not, and chewing stimulates saliva flow and releases these enzymes into the mouth, throat, and stomach, it helps to improve the digestive process before your food even reaches your stomach.
Research has shown that saliva helps protect against gum disease and tooth decay, and your teeth are constantly covered with a thin film of saliva to defend against harmful bacteria in your mouth.
What happens when food is not digested properly, you can suffer from digestive issues such as indigestion, acidity, bloating, heartburn, constipation, headache, and low energy.
People who chew slower and longer tend to eat less and enjoy their food more.
Digestion is a very demanding and extremely important task for your body. It requires a great deal of energy, especially if forced to digest improperly chewed food. Chewing properly allows your stomach to work more efficiently and break down your food faster.
The simple act of chewing your food longer in your mouth helps to break down larger particles of food into smaller particles. This helps to reduce stress on the throat and esophagus and helps your stomach digest and metabolize your food.
It is recommended to chew your food an estimated 32 times before swallowing. The more you chew your food, the more saliva you produce, which contains digestive enzymes that help break down and soften and your food is making it easier to digest.
The goal of chewing is to break down your food. … Foods that are harder to chew, which such as steak and nuts, may require up to 40 chews per mouthful to break it down.
If you don’t chew your food properly, your digestive system won’t be able to break it down. … Enzymes are released as you are chewing that begin to “prepare” the food so that your stomach has an easier job. Chewing slowly also helps increases the alkalinity of the food, which is extremely important.
Saliva also carries minerals that help rebuild the enamel surfaces of your teeth and neutralizes acids in the mouth that would add to the enamel breakdown.
You produce more saliva when you eat, and less when you sleep. This is why pH is so important. Cavities happen in an acidic environment.
What is the pH of Saliva?
Speaking of rebuilding enamel, it’s essential to understand how saliva can neutralize those acids to protect the enamel of your teeth. The pH scale is a system of measuring the acidic or primary qualities of a chemical, 0 being the most acidic and 14 being the most basic. Water has a pH of 7, meaning it is entirely neutral. Saliva’s normal pH range is anywhere between 5.6 and 7.9.
The pH of saliva changes with any food or drink you consume. It is important to maintain healthy eating habits to keep your saliva’s pH as balanced as possible, as saliva that is too acidic or too basic can cause problems both in your mouth and potentially to your digestive system as a whole.
What if you don’t Make Enough Saliva?
Too Little Saliva Yes that does happen
Certain diseases and medicines can affect how much saliva you make. If you do not make enough saliva, your mouth can become dry. This condition is called dry mouth (xerostomia).
The uncomfortable sensation of dry mouth is just one adverse effect; larger problems can start to occur if the condition is left untreated, such as gum disease and tooth decay. You can even have trouble swallowing and digesting food. If you have a dry mouth, you can follow these tips to stay comfortable and, more importantly, avoid damage to your mouth and body as a whole.
- Drink plenty of water. Dehydration is a leading cause of dry mouth.
- Chew sugar-free gum or try sugar-free candy or mints. Or a product that has the first active ingredient of Xylitol. These can stimulate saliva production.
- every day if your symptoms look for artificial saliva, such as a rinse or a spray.
- Avoid spicy, salty, or acidic foods. These tend to dry your mouth and even cause irritation. Look for softer, smoother foods, and moisten dry foods with sauces or broths.
Simple Habits Can Have A Huge Impact on not only your oral health but your overall health! Are You Paying Attention to them?
Questions about your mouth’s health? Contact me at www.dentalhygine411.com