Three pairs of major salivary glands along with hundreds of minor salivary glands inside your mouth produce approximately 2-4 pints of saliva every 24 hours. Composed of 99% water and 1% electrolytes, enzymes and proteins; saliva washes over the teeth and surrounding soft tissues to cleanse and protect them from germs, tooth decay, and gum disease. Saliva also plays a key role in keeping the mouth lubricated and comfortable, so that food can be moved through the mouth easily for purposes of chewing, tasting and swallowing.
A lack of saliva makes simple oral functions more difficult and causes germs to increase in your mouth. More germs lead to bad breath, dental decay, gum disease, and provide the groundwork for a host of oral infections.
Common reasons for the condition include the following:
- Age – Dry mouth is frequently seen in the elderly
- Cancer treatment
- Injury or Surgery
- Tobacco use