Saliva is highly important for maintaining the acid/base balance in your mouth. Saliva is produced by salivary glands which we find in our cheeks and under the tongue. These glands create two types of saliva, serous saliva, and mucoid saliva.
Serous saliva is the wet and watery form and mucoid saliva is more thick and sticky. Mucoid saliva provides proteins that are key in the beginning stages of digesting our food. Serous saliva mostly creates chemicals to buffer your mouth.
As we get older, serous saliva production slowly decreases. When we do not have enough serous saliva, we experience xerostomia, also called dry mouth. Our mouths become more acidic as a result of dry mouth, and acidity is what causes tooth decay.
Xerostomia is also a result of things such as medication and chemotherapy. Because chemotherapy slows the multiplication of rapidly reproducing cells, the cells in the salivary gland are affected.
The best thing you can do for your mouth is to get regular dental exams and maintain proper at-home care, including brushing and flossing. The mouth goes through changes as we age, and your dentist can offer some advice to fight the effects of dry mouth which may include frequent fluoride treatments and fluoride toothpaste.