It's not something we typically talk about, but we can't discuss the mouth without discussing our saliva. We all have it. We typically don't give it a second thought unless we catch our toddler making “spit bubbles” or are hanging our head back with the hygienist scraping away plaque. (Do I swallow or pretend like a pool isn't forming under my tongue!?)
Did you know that saliva is essential for keeping your mouth clean and healthy? The average person makes around a liter of saliva each day, and each ¼ teaspoon of saliva contains 140 million bacterial cells!
Saliva helps to control the pH, or the acid-base balance, in the mouth by keeping calcium and phosphate levels high. This helps to keep the mouth more basic in order to repair teeth. It also contains enzymes that are antibacterial and antiviral to fight against cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. Lastly, our saliva contains proteins that steal nutrients from other bacteria and rid our oral environment of the bad bugs.
Saliva is so important!
So what does this have to do with breathing through our nose?
When you breathe through your mouth, you're not producing as much saliva as you would if you were breathing through your nose. Without saliva, you're significantly more likely to develop cavities, gum disease, and other dental problems.
Be sure to keep your mouth moist, drink plenty of water, and let that saliva flow! Every aspect of your dental health will thank you for decades to come!