The human body is made up of several different systems that work together 24/7 to function properly. Your body is so complex, it can even fight off infection and bacteria on its own when needed. It has many different signs and signals to let you know if something is wrong, when you are healthy, or when changes are happening, and every part of your body has a function and purpose. When it comes to your mouth, it is no different! Every part works together to paint a picture of your overall health: your teeth, gums, and even your saliva!
You probably don’t actively think about your saliva or how often the moisture in your mouth makes you naturally swallow. However, you will notice when your saliva starts to run out because dry mouth can be an annoying and uncomfortable symptom of something bigger. There are many different causes of this and some are more serious than others. Snoring or breathing through your mouth can cause dryness as well some medications like antidepressants, muscle relaxers, appetite suppressants, and more. But dry mouth can also be a symptom of serious illnesses like diabetes, Sjogren’s syndrome, HIV, yeast infection, and stroke. If you are experiencing dry mouth, scheduling an appointment with your dentist or doctor should be a priority for your general and oral health. Saliva plays a big role in protecting your teeth and keeping your gums healthy, so continual dry mouth could result in major dental issues.
Testing for Drug Use
Depending on the type of drug, the evidence can be found in your saliva for several hours to a couple of days after usage. Recreational drugs that can be detected include marijuana, cocaine, PCP, ecstasy, and other opioids. Beyond these drugs, over the counter medications can also be detected in your saliva which can help physicians monitor dosage amounts.
Prior to 1984, DNA profiling didn’t exist. Now, from your saliva alone, you can find out everything about your entire genetic blueprint from ancestry history to hormone levels. Your saliva has so much information that in home genetic tests that link people together, create custom nutrition plans, and more, are done with just the swab of the mouth. It wasn’t long after the discovery of DNA profiling that law enforcement adapted it into their system, so now, if you commit a crime and your saliva is found, you might have some explaining to do!
Just like dry mouth can be a symptom of a medication or medical condition, having a little extra saliva can be a sign of something as well. While dry mouth might feel uncomfortable and lead to tooth and gum issues, excess saliva can be irritating and make simple things like talking or eating hard to do without drooling a bit. Hyper-salivation could be a symptom of acid reflux, allergies, or any other issue that might impair your ability to swallow like swollen tonsils or strep throat. Patients who are pregnant also often see an increase in saliva amounts, but this is normal and likely nothing to worry about!