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Saliva is a kind of body fluid secreted by three pairs of major salivary glands and a number of minor salivary glands inside the mouth. This body fluid actually has many functions such as being an enzyme carrier for the digestion of starch and hormonal functions. But one of the most direct roles that saliva has in oral health is its disinfectant powers. So for those of you who are in dental office jobs, here are some basic information about bad breath, oral health and the role of saliva in a healthy mouth.

Many people believe that saliva contains natural disinfectants and that licking the wound can reduce infections and further contamination of the open skin. Although this myth has never been proven before in humans, certain studies did reveal that saliva contains certain proteins which can help hasten the wound healing process in some test animals. Other studies have revealed that there are actually a number of anti-bodies present in saliva that could give it its anti-inflammatory properties.

Bad breath is today’s most common dental problems. Saliva plays an important role in keeping this problem at bay by washing away substances that may bring about the odor. This is the very reason why patients who have dry mouths or have a shortage of salivary excretions are advised to chew gum to stimulate the production of the saliva fluid and help “flush out” whatever is causing the odor to persist in the mouth.

But aside from saliva, the tongue also plays a vital part in this dental condition. The tongue is the most common attachment site for substances and bacteria that can cause bad breath and even dental cavities. Most of the bacteria in the mouth settle on to the surface of the tongue and thus, account for 80-90% of reported halitosis problems. Bacteria more specifically love to thrive in the upper dorsum of the tongue. This area is least wetted by saliva and thus, allow bacterial populations to accumulate at higher amounts compared to all the other areas of the mouth. This is the very reason why in dental office jobs, professionals always see to it that the tongue get equal attention during cleaning and check-ups.

Aside from that, different shapes of the tongue can pose different kinds of problems as well. People with a line or a fissure running down their tongues can provide extra attachment for anaerobic bacteria to adhere and populate. This tongue formation can be inherited making some people more prone to halitosis than other people – and thus, making it all look like a hereditary problem.

People in dental office jobs also highly recommend incorporating tongue cleaning as part of your daily dental hygiene. You can easily make use of your toothbrush to gently clean and scrape away the debris in your tongue as you brush your teeth. Of course, there are always the temporary solutions such as the use of breath mints or mouth sprays that can mask the odor for a certain period of time. But still, if you want to keep away from this kind of problem, none can do it better than a regular tongue cleaning habit.

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