Saliva, a natural health service provider
Repair, protect and clean: human saliva is a natural service provider for healthy teeth and oral mucosa.
Each person produces more than one litre of saliva a day. It is 99.4 per cent water and lubricates the oral cavity, thus enables us to speak, swallow and taste.
The cleaning crew
Just like a cleaning crew, when saliva flows, it also takes on an important rinsing function: thanks to saliva, food residue, microorganisms and old oral mucosa cells are rinsed away.
This rinsing function of saliva is key since food residues often consist of starch and carbohydrates. They pose a considerable risk of caries if they are not swept away by the saliva and are not prevented from turning into sugar.
Minerals, protein and enzymes make up the remaining 0.6 per cent of the saliva. They provide a wide range of protective and repair functions.
The pellicle, which is deposited on teeth, gums and oral mucosa after brushing, is composed of the proteins, glycoproteins, lipids and enzymes in the saliva and is largely bacteria-free. This pellicle provides important protection: it ensures moisture to protect teeth against abrasion and, above all, it acts as a sort of customs post, controlling which substances are allowed to pass through to the dental enamel.
Unfortunately, bacterial coatings also form on the pellicle over time, in other words plaque or biofilm. This is why regular oral care is important - every 24 hours at the latest, the teeth and interdental spaces should be cleaned carefully and yet painstakingly accurately to avoid caries, gum inflammation, periodontitis and tooth loss. By doing so, your teeth will be very well protected thanks to the pellicle.
For example, the pellicle allows minerals to pass through. After all, it is important for the teeth to be repeatedly supplied with calcium and fluoride. This is how dental enamel is remineralised. These minerals are also provided by toothpaste in insignificant amounts: they mainly come from the saliva. You could almost say that saliva is the best toothpaste.
The pellicle keeps acid at bay. These acids dissolve calcium, phosphate and fluoride out of the enamel. If saliva did not continuously replace these minerals, the teeth would soon dissolve. Thanks to its bicarbonate content, saliva acts as an acid buffer to maintain an unimpaired balance between demineralisation and remineralisation in the mouth. This acid protection by the pellicle usually works fairly well, but the pellicle quickly reaches its limits if confronted with excessively strong acids and at short intervals several times a day. Acids of this type are found in fruit juices, cola beverages or energy drinks.
The enzymes contained in saliva have the task of being, firstly, the “spark plugs for metabolism” to predigest food: they break down the long starch chains and protein molecules in food into their constituent parts, i.e. into glucose and amino acids. The better you chew, the more the food is pre-digested and the stomach can do its job correspondingly better.
Against bacteria, mycoses and viruses
On the other hand, the enzymes in saliva act superbly against undesirable microorganisms and thus help to combat the formation of biofilm or plaque. The lactoperoxidase system is of special importance in this. Its three enzymes not only combat bacteria but also mycoses and viruses. They thus restrict the formation of tooth deposit and continuously break down harmful sugar – before it gets converted into acid by the microorganisms.
This is why you should not go to bed without cleaning your teeth. Acids and microorganisms have total freedom since saliva hardly flows at all while you’re asleep.
Saliva’s enzymatic protective function is easily affected – by too much sugar, acidic beverages, alcohol and nicotine. Some water, or even better some milk, will help to normalise acid levels in the mouth.
Waiting half an hour to an hour before brushing teeth is also recommended. This prevents tooth enamel, softened by acid attacks, being further damaged by a toothbrush.
Almost all toothpastes contain excessively aggressive detergents and foaming agents such as SLS (sodium lauryl sulphate). These attack the oral mucosa, causing cells to die off. And can also contain excess of highly irritating essential oils. All this can lead to the mouth’s natural balance being disrupted and may result in irritation and painful ulcers.
Toothpaste can also cause damage
This is why choosing a suitable toothpaste is highly important: toothpastes such as CURAPROX enzycal are gentle yet effective.. It contains neither the detergent and foaming agent SLS nor excessive, highly irritating flavour additives – both of which are frequently found in standard toothpastes. In a physiological way best suited to the body, CURAPROX enzycal contains precisely those enzymes that constitute the lactoperoxidase system, thus supporting the enzymatic protection system and the saliva’s defence mechanism.