Saliva is something fascinating!
This essential fluid to our well-being deserves more attention as it is super important for our everyday activities and its’ medicinal properties are often taken for granted.
Let's take a deep dive and learn how saliva does our body good:
1. Saliva is made mostly out of water
If you’re wondering what saliva is made of, it’s 99% water. This is no surprise considering the body is made of 60% water. The remaining 1% of saliva contains digestive enzymes, uric acid, electrolytes, mucus-forming proteins, and cholesterol.
2. You could produce enough saliva in a year to fill two bathtubs
Saliva is produced and secreted from salivary glands 24 hours a day with the most production during the afternoon and the least amount at night.
The production varies considerably from person to person, but on average most people produce 0.7 liters of saliva per day, which is enough to fill two medium-size bathtubs a year.
3. It’s affected by Fight or Flight responses
When you experience high stress or anxiety levels, it makes your body go into fight-or-flight mode. During this time, your body senses the stress or danger and as a result, affects your saliva production.
The digestive system will do everything in its power to conserve energy, which involves shutting down saliva production. If you’re feeling stressed, scared, or anxious, you might notice that your mouth feels particularly dry.
4. “Chew your food well” is what our mothers used to say as kids
Well, moms are always right!
Our digestion starts in the mouth. Amylase, an enzyme present in human saliva, starts the chemical process of food digestion. Next time you have a lunch break, you might want to give yourself more time for chewing.
5. Saliva is essential for tasting
Once you bite into your food, the saliva helps to moisten the food. That helps foods dissolve and distribute amongst taste buds. Moist taste buds = healthy taste buds = more flavors.
6. Saliva keeps you healthy & helps wounds in the mouth heal faster than wounds elsewhere on the body.
Saliva is your body’s defence against bacteria in your mouth.
It washes it away and neutralizes the pH balance in your mouth. In addition, it can also fight off infections in wounds! Saliva is filled with a protein called histatin which is known as an antibacterial agent. There’s a reason for the saying “lick your wounds,” saliva actually contains infection-fighting white blood cells known as neutrophils.
When you apply saliva to a wound, it gives your body backup protection.
7. It protects teeth and gums and helps to lubricate the mouth.
Our mouth is almost constantly flushed with saliva, which floats away food debris and keeps the mouth relatively clean. The flow of saliva diminishes considerably during sleep, allowing populations of bacteria to build up in the mouth – the result is bad breath in the morning. Saliva also contains lysozyme, an enzyme that lyses many bacteria and prevents the overgrowth of oral microbial populations.
Imagine what happens in our mouth if we skip brushing & flossing...Exactly!
8. It is the mouth's primary defense against tooth decay.
Decay results from bacteria in plaque that generate acids, which attack tooth minerals.
The buffering systems of saliva help counteract this acid formation. The watery flow helps wash away the sugars and food particles that, when broken down, also produce tooth-damaging acids.
And No - you can’t skip brushing & flossing even if you produce a lot of saliva.
9. The watery liquid secreted by your salivary glands contains natural painkillers.
Your saliva is rich with a substance called opiorphin: a painkiller six times more powerful than morphine.
10. Keep your mouth healthy with Regular Dental Cleanings
In addition to saliva production, your mouth needs regular dental cleanings to keep it healthy! If you’re overdue for a dental check-up or cleaning - schedule an appointment as soon as possible.
Regular maintenance of your mouth may prevent many problems & help you live your healthiest life yet. Schedule an appointment by contacting us at +971 42 4040 21 or tap the WhatsApp button below.
Secondary source educational information gathered by the author.
About ConfiDent ® Palm Dental Clinic.
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