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The Gift of Moisture

If you read Dune or saw the recent movie version, you know that science fiction writer Frank Herbert conjured a bone-dry desert planet where water was as precious as gold. In a key scene, the leader of a desert tribe greets the aristocrat in charge of ruling his planet by spitting at his feet. According to protocol, the visiting Duke Atriedes responds by thanking the tribal leader for “the gift of moisture.”

While that might seem like an unsavory custom here on Planet Earth, we should take a moment to thank Mother Nature for the gift of the moisture in our mouths, aka saliva. Saliva, or spit if you want to blunt, keeps our mouth and teeth hydrated and helps to prevent tooth decay and cavities, persistent bad breath (halitosis), and gum disease. It also lubricates our mouths and is important in terms of safely eating food. If your mouth becomes persistently dry, it’s a problem and you need to call an outstanding dental office like ours at Santa Clarita Valley Dental Group.

The Power of the Dog and the Cat

Saliva is mostly water but it also contains a trace amount of proteins and electrolytes that help to fight unfriendly bacteria that cause tooth decay, halitosis, and periodontal problems. This bacteria-fighting ability has led some mommy bloggers to theorize that a mother’s spit might have beneficial properties and be a good way to clean off a baby’s pacifier. There’s even a cleaning product calling itself Mom Spit but we’re pretty sure it’s 100% saliva free.

Of course, our animal friends don’t have running water in the wild, so saliva is their only available method of cleaning themselves or their offspring. Cat and, perhaps more surprisingly, dog saliva has been found to have beneficial properties that may help vulnerable kittens and puppies avoid disease as they grow up. But, please, don’t go crazy with that news. Your instinct to avoid the rough tongue of your kitty or a big kiss on the lips from an overly friendly dog is undoubtedly correct! Still, the point remains that saliva can be very powerful – that’s why you don’t really need to bathe your cat! – and is extremely important.

Persistent Dry Mouth

The old saying that “you don’t miss your water until the well runs dry” definitely applies to the way most people think about the moisture in their mouths. While it’s normal to have a temporary dry mouth during times of brief stress, such as when you experience a bit of stage fright before an oral report, persistent dry mouth is not just problematic for our oral and digestive health as explained above, it feels awful.

If temporary anxiety can cause temporary dry mouth it’s probably no surprise that excess stress that goes on indefinitely can also bring on more persistent dry mouth as does excessive over-stimulation, called hyperstress. Other frequent causes include side effects of many prescription medications as well as cannabis, tobacco, excessive mouth breathing, and acid reflux (aka GERD).

If the problem is minor and temporary, then sucking lozenges/hard candy or an ice cube can help – but be careful not to chew them! Left untreated, persistent dry mouth can lead to problems ranging from gum disease to toothaches that can cause pain severe enough to warrant emergency dental care.

Treating Persistent Dry Mouth

Since you’re reading the Santa Clarita Valley Dental Care website you probably won’t be surprised when we tell you that, whenever persistent dry mouth appears, your next step should be to make an appointment with your oral health care provider. When you come in, we will take a look to see what the cause might be. Sometimes the matter can be treated as simply as by switching out medications or laying off the gummies, smokables, or cigarettes.

When the cause is ongoing anxiety or other problems that may take some time to treat, there are effective medications that stimulate saliva production to protect the patient’s oral health in the short term. The most popular are Salagen (pilocarpine ) or Evoxac (cevimeline). You and your dentist will discuss if these kinds of prescriptions are appropriate in your case.

Santa Clarita Valley Dental Care Can Help

If you are suffering from dry mouth, halitosis, bleeding gums, painful or sensitive teeth, or any other persistent issue impacting your mouth, don’t wait to get help. People from throughout the area come to Santa Clarita Valley Dental Care for superb oral health services for the entire family. We’re also here to provide preventive routine care to stop problems before they start.

To get started, call us at the number on your screen or fill out the form on our contact page.

Santa Clarita Valley Dental Care

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