What Does Saliva Do for Your Dental Health?

Your saliva is made almost entirely of water—over 98% of it, to be more precise. Along with its other ingredients, the high water content makes your saliva an important defense mechanism against the harmful bacteria found in dental plaque. Besides preparing your food for digestion by making it easier to bite and chew, a healthy flow of saliva is also vital to maintaining your dental health.

Saliva vs. Oral Bacteria

Though experts have identified over 600 kinds of oral bacteria in a healthy human mouth, there are still hundreds that are more difficult to classify, for various reasons. One of those reasons is that oral bacteria are largely anaerobic, meaning they can grow weak and die when exposed to too much oxygen. Since oxygen is a building block of water, saliva acts as a natural rinse against oral bacteria, helping to stop dental plaque formation. As a neutral substance, saliva also helps protect your dental health from the acids produced oral bacteria, which can weaken teeth and lead to tooth decay.

Tips to Keep Saliva Flowing

  • Drink plenty of water. Keeping your body hydrated will promote a healthy flow of saliva, but sugary and carbonated drinks can inhibit saliva flow and strengthen oral bacteria.
  • Brush and floss often. Plaque and bacteria develop constantly, and removing them before they become too strong will boost your saliva’s effectiveness as a defense mechanism.
  • Visit your dentist regularly. Many different issues can lead to or increase your risks of dry mouth—a severe decrease or lack of saliva production.


Dr. Quinn Smith is a well-respected and highly experienced general, restorative, and family dentist in Grand Prairie, TX. He takes a patient-first approach that starts from the moment patients enter our Pecan Tree Dental office, and he offers a three-year guarantee on all dental work that he performs. Whether you and your family are new or returning patients, you can schedule a consultation or your next appointment with Dr. Smith by contacting us at (972) 262-5111.