Saliva is very important. It is easy to think that it is not, as we are constantly making it, and it is always around, making us forget how important it really is. Many things can go wrong with saliva and the parts of the body that produce this vital liquid.
Usually, the problems arise because of a lack of saliva, having excessive amounts of saliva is quite rare, and is not, medically speaking, a big problem, although it can be unsightly at times. It may be a sign of a bigger problem, like an abscess or some sort of wound in the mouth that triggers saliva production, but the excessive amount of saliva is not in and of itself a problem. Medical issues and the pain that is associated with them only comes about when the saliva production is blocked or in otherwise incomplete.
Xerostomia is the medical term for chronic dry mouth. This condition arises when saliva is not being produced. The inside of the mouth acts as a giant mucus membrane, and in order for it to fight off the bacteria that live and breed in the human mouth, and to properly work at aiding in digesting food, it needs to be properly lubricated, which is one of the main functions of saliva. Saliva also aids in digestion, and if the food you eat is not properly digested in the mouth, it will be harder for your stomach to digest it. Saliva has many useful enzymes that break down starch and complex carbs into easily digestible sugars, and it may be more difficult to do this if the food is only half wet.
Salioliths are little stones that grow in your slaivary glands. They block the flow of saliva, and cause xerostomia, but also lead to infected salivary glands and a whole host of problems. This is an extremely rare disease, and usually affects the salivary gland located underneath the tongue, it is almost unheard of for all three glands to be blocked simultaneously. If one of your salivary glands is blocked and does not produce, if it is swollen or is pustulating, it is likely that the aperture of the gland is blocked by a saliolith. Do not try to remove it yourself, go to see a dentist, and have an oral surgeon take it out. You can mess up your mouth permanently by yanking the stone out, even though it is small and may seem like an easy job to do.
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