A blood test reveals a wealth of information about the status of our health, but did you know your saliva can do the same? Saliva is called “the mirror of the body” by the American Dental Association, and for good reason. Many different types of medical tests commonly use saliva because it’s much easier to collect than blood — no needles required! So for your dentist here at the Yuba City Dentistry Group, your saliva speaks!
What Saliva Says About Oral Health
The rise in diabetes cases in the United States is alarming. Americans consume massive amounts of sugar and processed foods, harming both their dental health and their pancreas. The symptoms of diabetes are seen in the mouth — red and bleeding gums, dry mouth and inflammation of the oral tissues. Saliva tests reveal blood glucose, hormone, electrolyte and protein levels. If you have diabetes, monitor your mouth closely to avoid gum disease and tooth loss.
Saliva and Oral Infections
Thrush, a yeast infection of the mouth, causes saliva to turn white and milky. Babies, older adults with dentures, smokers and patients with diabetes are at an increased risk for this fungal infection. Good oral hygiene is vital to prevent oral infections, such as oral thrush. Anti-fungal medications may be prescribed by our Yuba City family dentists.
Saliva And Drug Use
Recreational drugs, legal and otherwise, are detectable in saliva. Employers who require drug testing use the results of saliva tests to look for cocaine, amphetamines, opioids, marijuana, and other drugs. Doctors also preform saliva testing when they have prescribed opioids for pain management to determine if the drugs are being overused. The results of some types of drug use, such as “meth mouth,” can be seen even without saliva testing.
Too Much Saliva
Many patients experience dry mouth, called xerostomia, but quite a few have the opposite problem — too much saliva. This condition is called ptylasim gravidarum, or hypersalivation. This condition commonly affects pregnant women and those with GERD. Drooling may also be a symptom of dental infection. If you have a sudden increase of saliva, consult with our Yuba City dentists to determine the cause. Many times, a change in diet and limiting alcohol consumption will help.
By doing your best to have a healthy body you also support having a healthy mouth. Promote saliva production and keep your teeth healthy by drinking water, brushing and flossing daily and even by chewing sugarless gum after meals. If you have either dry mouth or hypersalivation, contact us so we can help. Schedule an appointment with the Yuba City Dentistry Group today!