Do you suffer from dry mouth? If so, you likely notice the discomfort caused by the condition, but did you know that saliva is an essential part of your dental health? Saliva is much more than just a clear liquid produced by your salivary glands. Here are four reasons to treat your dry mouth and replenish your saliva.

1. Saliva Protects Your Teeth

Did you know that tooth decay is caused by bacteria in your mouth? Moreover, the reason that sugar causes cavities is that the sweet substance fuels the bacteria that cause tooth decay. Fortunately, saliva helps to wash away harmful bacteria, providing a simple yet effective method of protecting your teeth.

Additionally, saliva coats your teeth with calcium, a mineral your teeth need to stay strong and healthy. And consequently, if you suffer from dry mouth, you're at a greater risk of developing cavities and suffering from sensitive teeth, too.

2. Saliva Fights Gum Disease

In addition to protecting your teeth from bacteria, saliva also protects your gums from infections. The clear substance contains proteins that reduce germs and fight diseases in your mouth.

When you suffer from dry mouth, you are more likely to develop periodontitis (advanced gum disease). If left untreated for long enough, periodontitis causes teeth to fall out—a heavy price to pay for not having enough saliva.

3. Saliva Prevents Bad Breath

If you suffer from halitosis (bad breath), you'll be glad to know that treating dry mouth also helps to get rid of breath odor. How does saliva accomplish such a feat? It does so by washing away the decomposing cells in your mouth.

Unfortunately, if you don't have enough saliva in your mouth, decomposing cells will accumulate—and bad breath will surely follow.

4. Saliva Helps Your Body Digest Food

Saliva does more than just help with oral health—the slimy substance also contains an enzyme called amylase, which helps your body digest food.

The amylase in your saliva breaks down starches. This process occurs before you even swallow your food.

Saliva also dampens the food you eat, making it easier for the chewed material to reach your stomach quickly.

From cavities to gum disease, dry mouth increases odds of suffering from dental problems. It's unfortunate that many people overlook the importance of saliva. Don't make the same mistake by ignoring your dry mouth. Ask a dentist such as McMillin Jeff DDS about treatment options for restoring your saliva to a normal, healthy level.