The recent COVID-19 pandemic has raised awareness of viruses and the negative impact they can have on our bodies. The public is looking for ways to boost their immune systems to stay healthy. But we already have a superpower within our bodies fighting against viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Saliva is our mouth’s first line of defense against harmful pathogens.
Benefits of Saliva
When most of us think about saliva we know that it helps with lubrication, taste, and digestion. Saliva neutralizes acids in the mouth. It flushes out food and bacteria and deposits calcium, phosphate, and fluoride into the teeth. However, many are unaware that it also has anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial properties. The white blood cells in saliva help act as a safety net, capturing viruses and bacteria and destroying them before they can go any farther than our mouths.
What to do if you’re lacking saliva?
So, if saliva is so good for us, what do we do if we have a dry mouth? Are we at an increased risk of disease and infection? The answer is, yes, you are at an increased risk of disease, infection, and even decay. The good news is there are many salivary substitutes and stimulants to boost your salivary superpowers.
Avoid acidic and sugary foods.
The pH of your saliva should be between 6.8 and 7.2. Neutral is 7.0 so, aim for a pH reading right around neutral. If the pH gets too low, specifically under 6.0, then your mouth is at risk for disease, decay, and infection. You can purchase pH test paper strips on Amazon very easy to test your pH at home. Take it first thing in the morning, before eating, drinking, or brushing your teeth, to discover your resting pH. Then, you can use the strips to test your salivary pH after eating and drinking to determine how your pH is affected by certain foods and drinks.
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Drink water often to stay hydrated.
The anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-viral properties will flourish and work best when you stay hydrated and keep your mouth hydrated. Water will also flush food and debris from your teeth keeping them healthier.
Brush and floss twice a day.
This may sound simple and like common knowledge but brushing and flossing is vital when it comes to healthy saliva. Brushing with a toothpaste containing baking soda will also help to keep a better balance of good bacteria in your mouth.
Take a probiotic daily.
Probiotics are all about balance. Digestion starts in the mouth and when your gut is in balance your saliva follows suit. This ensures healthy saliva that is ready to fight off bugs and viruses that easily invade though the mouth. A healthy gut equals healthy a healthy mouth.
Prevention is key!
We all know prevention is key when it comes to decay and dental diseases. But the same goes for viruses and bacteria that can enter through our mouths. If your saliva is functioning properly it will be your mouths biggest superpower against pathogens who are trying to attack.