Happy mouth, happy life – is that the phrase? If not, it should be. Saliva, of which we produce up to two gallons daily, is actually a great tool to measure overall health. Up to 90% of systemic diseases have oral symptoms, so frequent trips to the dentist can help catch any upcoming health issues.
Understanding Your Saliva
Saliva neutralizes acids in your mouth, protecting you against dental decay (such as cavities or other tooth decay) and gum disease. But saliva can tell us so much more about your health!
Dry mouth, a condition in which you have reduced saliva, can be caused by medication. While some recommendations for dry mouth say that it can be fixed through rehydrating, dry mouth can actually cause many problems if unchecked: periodontal disease, swelling, and bad breath. However, tests can help discover if you are suffering from any diseases, such as HIV. In fact, saliva is crucial in rapid HIV testing.
Saliva testing can also help catch, diagnose, and treat other illnesses. Checking cortisol levels can test stress responses in babies, while bone-specific proteins can monitor bone loss. High glucose levels can point to an uncontrolled case of diabetes, whereas white or off-white saliva may indicate some sort of oral infection. pH levels can be checked to help determine if you have acid reflux, which is signaled by a bitter tasting saliva.
A Changing Field
According to a 2007 article in the Academy of General Dentistry’s journal, changes in saliva analyzation can also provide dentists insight into breast cancer. Researchers found that analyzing and studying saliva can help with early cancer diagnosis.
Good oral care is important to staying healthy, and your saliva helps our dentists figure out if anything else is going on. Protect your health by scheduling your next dental exam at Goldstein Dental Group’s Novi location.