Saliva is a clear liquid that’s produced by your salivary glands. It’s mostly made up of water, but it also contains electrolytes, mucus, enzymes, and other substances that are important for maintaining oral health.
Saliva is produced at a rate of about 1-2 liters per day. The composition of saliva varies depending on the time of day and the person’s diet. For example, saliva contains more mucus in the morning than at night. Diets high in carbohydrates increase the amount of glucose in saliva, while diets high in protein increase the amount of ammonia.
The production of saliva is increased by the sight, smell, or thought of food as well as by chewing. The salivary glands are stimulated by the hormone vasopressin, which is released in response to increased blood sugar levels. The glands are also stimulated by the sympathetic nervous system, which is activated during times of stress.
Composition of Saliva:
- Saliva is 99.5% water, but it also contains electrolytes, mucus, enzymes, and other organic molecules. The electrolytes in saliva include sodium, potassium, chloride, bicarbonate, and calcium. These electrolytes help to maintain the fluid balance in the body and are important for many bodily functions.
- Mucus is a glycoprotein that lubricates the mouth and protects the mucous membranes from infection. Mucus also helps to bind food particles together so that they can be more easily swallowed.
- The enzymes in saliva include amylase, which breaks down carbohydrates, and lipase, which breaks down fats. These enzymes begin the process of digestion before food even enters the stomach.
- Other organic molecules present in saliva include glucose, urea, uric acid, and lactic acid. These molecules provide energy for the body and help to remove waste products.
Functions of Saliva:
The primary function of saliva is to lubricate the mouth and facilitate mastication (chewing). Saliva also aids in digestion by breaking down food particles and neutralizing acids produced by bacteria in the mouth. In addition, saliva helps to protect the teeth from decay by washing away food debris and plaques.
Saliva is constantly produced by the salivary glands and secreted into the mouth. It is then either swallowed or expectorated. Swallowed saliva enters the digestive system where it helps to break down food. Expectorated saliva is composed of older, more concentrated secretions and does not have the same digestive properties.
The functions of saliva can be divided into three main categories:
1. Lubrication and Mastication
3. Protection of the Teeth
4. Lubrication and Mastication:
Saliva lubricates the mouth and makeschewing easier. By keeping the mouth moist, saliva also prevents food from sticking to the teeth and gums. This function is important for both dental health and digestion.
Saliva contains enzymes that begin the process of breaking down carbohydrates and fats. This is important because it helps to prepare food for absorption in the intestines. In addition, saliva neutralizes acids produced by bacteria in the mouth, which can damage tooth enamel.
6. Protection of the Teeth:
Saliva also helps to protect the teeth from decay by washing away food debris and plaques. In addition, saliva contains fluoride, which can help to prevent cavities.
Overall, saliva plays an important role in maintaining oral health and facilitating digestion. It is constantly produced by the salivary glands and secreted into the mouth, where it performs its various functions.
Overall, saliva is an important fluid that plays many vital roles in the body. It is produced by the salivary glands and secreted into the mouth, where it lubricates the mucous membranes and aids in the digestion of food. In addition, saliva contains enzymes that break down carbohydrates and fats, which helps to prepare food for absorption in the intestines.
Saliva also neutralizes acids produced by bacteria in the mouth, which can damage tooth enamel. Saliva also contains fluoride, which can help to prevent cavities. Therefore, it is important to keep the salivary glands healthy and functioning properly in order to maintain optimal oral health and digestion.