Brushing your teeth and using mouthwash and flossing is essential to maintain proper oral hygiene. However, these procedures alone are not able to remove all microbes in the mouth. Collaboration of saliva is needed.
Saliva is composed by a mixture of enzymes, nutrients and antibodies which act against pathogenic organisms. It’s also an ally in the working process of teeth and gums.
Saliva enzymes initiates the food digestion. Mainly, enzymes break down carbohydrates into smaller units and simple sugars. In fact these sugars are used by bacteria to feed and to produce acids, but saliva regulates the pH of the mouth avoiding the development of these acids.
Besides this digestive and antibacterial function, saliva also consists of mineral ions, especially calcium and phosphate, which are the materials from which teeth are formed. Therefore, saliva helps to remineralize teeth and to repair small lesions in the enamel.
The importance of saliva is such that the body produces about a liter a day, especially during meals. To generate the right amount of saliva it is very important to keep the body hydrated. At night, saliva production is stopped or minimized, which is why sometimes people wake up with their mouths completely dry and even with bad breath.
As you can see, the production of saliva is essential to maintain oral health. However, by itself it is not enough and therefore the daily dental hygiene is so important.