The Secret Life of Spit
Alabama Family Dentistry shares a bit of dental trivia… Did you know that the typical healthy person produces about 25,000 quarts of spit during an average lifetime? That’s equal to 1,000 gallons of milk, or enough to fill a backyard swimming pool! Although you can’t produce it in sufficient volume all at once – and who wants to swim in saliva? No, Alabama Family Dentistry recommends you retain your spit in your mouth for several reasons.
Basic Benefits of Saliva
When it comes to a healthy mouth and teeth, simple spit is incredibly helpful. Whenever you eat, you produce more saliva. One of saliva’s main purposes is to help flush away food particles that get stuck in between teeth, under the tongue, along the gum line – wherever little invisible particles may hide. It also serves to neutralize acids and protect teeth against decay. What happens when you don’t produce enough spit? Well basically you will start to experience what is called dry mouth. When your mouth is dry and spit isn’t available to perform its clear and neutralize functions, you become more susceptible to oral infections and an increased risk for cavities. So while you wouldn’t want to submerge your body in spit – a healthy mouth is submerged in spit. Literally.
Spit Provides a Window into Your DNA
Yes, everyone’s spit is unique. Just a little smidge of spit from the inside of your cheek contains tissue and skin cells. Inside each cell is a nucleus, within which are chromosomes which are made up of DNA. There are many labs that have developed the technology to analyze your DNA-filled spit. This allows them to glean information on what differentiates you from others, or whether or not you are related to others. This information is valuable, particularly for genetic testing. How many crime shows have you seen where they swab someone’s mouth with Q-tip and put it in a little plastic baggie? Ahah – now you know – all that from a little spit.
Save a Life
Of all things, your spit can be used to save a life. That’s right. Somewhere in the United States, a person is diagnosed with blood cancer about every 3 minutes. There is an organization called BeTheMatch.org that attempts to raise the awareness of blood cancers by increasing the bone marrow donor registry. Bone marrow is one of the most common treatments of blood cancer, and it’s often hard to find a compatible match. How is this related to spit? All it takes to get on the registry is a little swab of your cheek. Be The Match then scans the registry for each patient to help find donors for patients.
At our 4 dental offices located in Gardendale, Warrior, Sumiton and Birmingham, serving patients throughout the central Alabama area, we’re full of fun facts about your mouth, including teeth, tongue, and yes – spit. Give us a call today and schedule an appointment. We’d love to share more trivia with you.