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Surprising Things About Spit

added on: November 25, 2019
dental saliva instrument

When we think of spit, we may automatically think about how gross it is, especially when someone spits in public. But what would you say if we told you that spit is actually something pretty incredible? Join your dentist in McMinnville as we talk about some of the surprising facts about spit.  

We Produce A LOT of Spit

Throughout our lives, we will produce an average of 25,000 quarts of spit. That’s enough to fill a standard swimming pool! While that may seem like a ton of spit, it sure is handy when it comes to your oral and overall health. 

Spit & Oral Health

Believe it or not, spit is in our mouths for a reason or rather several reasons. First, spit plays an important role every time we eat. As we chew, our bodies produce more saliva, and it’s this saliva that helps us breakdown food to make it more digestible. But that’s not all. Saliva also helps rinse away any leftover food particles that may have been left behind long after you finish eating. This helps keep your teeth clean and bacteria-free. Spit serves yet another purpose — neutralizing acid. Acid can wear away the protective tooth enamel and leave teeth exposed to bacteria. But with saliva on our side to neutralize the acid, teeth are protected against decay

The Problem With Not Enough Saliva

When salivary glands don’t produce enough spit, the side effect is dry mouth, which is exactly what it sounds like. Dry mouth can leave your mouth feeling like a desert- no matter how much water you drink. While dry mouth can certainly be annoying, it’s also something you should talk to your McMinnville dentist about. Dry mouth can be a serious problem that, if left untreated, could certainly increase the risk of bad breath, decay, and even gum disease

Spit Can Save a Life

The benefits of spit go beyond oral health alone and can be used to help those with blood cancers. Blood cancers are, unfortunately, common. Every three minutes, someone in the United States is diagnosed with blood cancer. But thanks to organizations like BeTheMatch.org, more and more people are being treated successfully. You see, bone marrow is one of the most common treatments of blood cancer, and it’s often hard to find a compatible match. But thanks to spit and a national registry, it’s becoming much easier. A simple swap of spit and entry into a database provides donor match organizations access to find the right bone marrow match for blood cancer patients, increasing the chance of survival. 

When it comes to spitting, it may still be gross. But that doesn’t mean the spit itself is necessarily gross, too. Spit can benefit us in many ways and protect our smiles against the dangers of bacteria and acid. It can also help save a life.