Researchers have found that the mucus contained in your saliva contains a very special compound that protects your teeth and tooth enamel from cavity-causing bacteria.
Approximately 0.5% of your mouth’s saliva is mucus, which contains a special compound called salivary mucins. These mucins were originally believed to help your mucus maintain its slippery and elastic, snot-like qualities. But researchers have found that these mucins may contribute to your overall dental health.
Streptococcus mutans, the bacteria responsible for your cavities, can only wreak havoc on your teeth if they are able to attach to a biofilm around your teeth. Once they find a suitable biofilm, they attach and begin creating a sticky substance, cementing themselves onto the surface of your tooth. Once they make themselves comfortable on your tooth’s surface, they (and a few of their bacterial friends) start forming plaque and other nasty things. Their natural acidic byproducts begin breaking down your tooth enamel.
But with enough of your saliva’s natural mucins, they coat and suspend the nasty Streptococcus mutans bacteria, preventing them from attaching to their much-needed biofilm. Essentially, they are coated in snot and cannot stick to anything, protecting your teeth from future decay. To be clear, the mucins do not kill the bacteria, nor do they decrease the amount of it. They simply hold them in suspension until you clean your teeth.
With the mucins in your mouth stopping the bad bacteria, they help give your mouth’s native good bacteria a fighting chance.
But all the mucus in the world can’t protect your teeth completely. You still need regular checkups and cleanings from your friendly Valencia dentist. If you have any questions about tooth decay and plaque, be sure to schedule an appointment today!