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Importance of Saliva in Protection Against Cavities

Importance of Saliva in Protection Against CavitiesFor years it was believed that the salivary mucins in your saliva did little more than contribute to the slippery and elastic qualities of your spit. But now it seems as though these glycoproteins do much more than that. Researchers believe that saliva plays an active role in defending against pathogens to keep the human microbiome healthy. These finds were reported in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

These findings suggest that boosting the body’s natural production of saliva may be more effective at preventing cavities than through outside treatments like dental sealants and fluoride treatments. What was discovered is that salivary mucins do not actually kill the harmful bacteria for 24 hours. Instead, it keeps the bacteria suspended in a liquid medium that prevents it from forming a biofilm on the teeth. Bacteria can only create cavities once it is attached to the tooth’s surface, so by keeping it suspended, it cannot properly adhere. This is also better for the beneficial bacteria that reside in your mouth because it can thrive more when bacterial virulence is merely attenuated.

S. mutans is a harmful bacterium that creates tooth decay by attaching itself to teeth. If it is not treated promptly, it can eventually lead to a cavity. And if the cavity gets too severe, it will need to be treated with a root canal procedure. You can prevent all of this from happening by taking an active role in your oral health routine. You should brush and floss your teeth twice a day and drink plenty of water to stimulate saliva production.

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