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Excess saliva, thick saliva, and constantly dry mouth.

Are there numerous types of saliva? 

Excess saliva, thick saliva, and constantly dry mouth

Does it affect the number of cavities?

Excess saliva can be a problem in some people, leading to discomfort and difficulty in speaking and swallowing. On the other hand, thick saliva can make it difficult to eat food and clean the mouth, increasing the risk of cavities and other oral problems.

Dry mouth, or xerostomia, on the other hand, is a common problem in the adult population, which occurs when the salivary glands do not produce enough saliva. A dry mouth can be caused by certain medications, autoimmune diseases, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and aging. In addition, a dry mouth can lead to several oral problems, including tooth decay, oral infections, gingivitis, and periodontitis.

Another common saliva-related problem is bubbling saliva, which can be caused by several reasons, including excessive alcohol consumption, dehydration, oral infections, and blocked salivary glands.

In addition to these problems, some patients may experience a sensation of sweet saliva or thick or yellowish-white saliva in the morning, which may be a sign of oral or systemic health problems that should be evaluated by a healthcare professional.

Saliva is a clear liquid of 99% water and 1% other organic and inorganic components. Among the properties of saliva are to promote digestion and protect teeth. The salivary glands protect the oral cavity from many infections by secreting saliva. In addition, saliva helps in the digestive process of food. It makes what we ingest pass from the mouth to the stomach without damaging the esophagus using a viscous secretion that helps food slide down the throat and start the digestive cycle.

Depending on the patient, there are different types of saliva according to the percentage of its components:

  • Serous saliva: produced by the parotid gland. It is the only purely serous saliva, a thin, watery secretion rich in salivary amylase with a volume of less than half of the total book secreted.
  • Mucous saliva: produced by the minor glands. It is very thick. It is produced by the salivary glands to protect the mucous membranes when we consume acidic foods such as lemon or spicy sauces that can be aggressive to our taste.
  • Mixed saliva: it comes from the major and minor salivary glands, which provide different types of saliva, and these, in turn, contain various components mixed with others, such as crevicular fluid, cellular remains, and microorganisms.

Another function of saliva is the ability to dilute the sugars in food. This slows down the process of dental caries formation and contributes to the enamel's reinforcement and the teeth' mineralization.

The function of saliva against caries is related to four fundamental aspects: as mentioned above, sweeping and diluting effect of sugars and other components, demineralization balance, remineralization and antimicrobial action, and buffering capacity.

The direct relationship between the type of saliva and caries concerns pH. The lower the amount of froth, the lower the mouth's pH is likely to be, and the quicker and easier the risk of caries.

In conclusion, saliva plays a fundamental role in oral health, not only in the prevention of caries but also in the protection against oral infections and in the digestion of food. The composition of saliva varies from patient to patient and can affect its ability to protect against oral problems and caries formation. Therefore, it is essential to recognize the different types of saliva and the issues that may arise related to saliva to identify and treat any oral health problems effectively.