Why You Need Saliva

Saliva is an often overlooked yet crucial part of oral health. It plays a vital role in maintaining the overall well-being of your mouth. Not only is it necessary for your oral health, but it contributes to other important functions. Without saliva, you will begin to suffer from several dental issues. But, you may also experience fully body issues. As a result, you need to make sure that you are properly hydrated. A lack of saliva can disrupt your oral health. 

Why You Need Saliva

The Functions of Saliva

While it seems small, you need saliva for several reasons. 


Saliva lubricates and moistens the mouth. This makes it easier to speak, chew, and swallow. It helps prevent dryness and discomfort. As a result, it ensures optimal oral function. A lack of saliva can make you feel dehydrated and thirsty. Additionally, it will make it hard for you to swallow smoothly. 


Saliva contains enzymes that initiate the digestion process by breaking down food particles. These enzymes begin to break down carbohydrates while food is still in the mouth. Without saliva, you may not be able to get as much nutrients from your food. This is because saliva is a necessity to begin digestion. Over time, you can develop a nutritional deficiency. 

Oral Cleansing

Saliva acts as a natural cleanser. It does this by washing away food debris and bacteria that build in the mouth. It helps maintain a clean oral environment and reduces the risk of cavities and gum disease. When you don’t produce enough saliva, you don’t have natural protection against tooth decay. Bacteria thrive and multiply in a dry environment. As a result, a dry mouth has a higher chance of tooth decay. 

pH Regulation

Saliva helps regulate the pH balance in the mouth. It neutralizes acids to keep an optimal oral environment. This is crucial in preventing tooth erosion and having healthy enamel.

Antibacterial Action

Saliva contains antibodies and antimicrobial components that help fight off harmful bacteria and protect the oral tissues from infection and disease.

Wound Healing

Another crucial aspect of saliva concerns wound healing. Saliva contains growth factors and proteins that promote tissue repair and aid in healing minor oral injuries. For example, mouth sores or ulcers may heal slower if you have dry mouth.

When Saliva Runs Dry

When you don’t produce enough saliva, there are several issues you can experience. 

Reduced saliva flow can lead to dry mouth. Dry mouth causes discomfort and difficulty in speaking and swallowing. It can lead to an increased risk of oral health problems.

Also, saliva plays a crucial role in preventing cavities by neutralizing acids and washing away food particles. Insufficient saliva can lead to an increased risk of tooth decay and cavities.

Another oral concern with dry mouth is gum disease. Saliva helps maintain a healthy balance of bacteria in the mouth. Reduced saliva flow can lead to an overgrowth of harmful bacteria. This can increase the risk of gum disease.

The digestion process may be compromised without adequate saliva, making chewing and swallowing food difficult. This can affect overall nutrition and well-being.

Finally, saliva helps cleanse the mouth of bacteria and food particles that can contribute to bad breath. Reduced saliva flow can lead to chronic bad breath.