We don’t think about saliva until we develop dry mouth or some other symptom that grabs our attention. But it doesn’t take long without it to appreciate the vital purpose saliva serves. Here are a few interesting saliva facts we know about this important fluid.
Saliva Facts You Should Know
- There are six salivary glands that together produce about a quart of saliva daily.
- Saliva is 99.5% water plus enzymes that keep the pH level inside the mouth healthy.
- The body uses water from blood capillaries in the salivary glands in the production of saliva.
- Without saliva there is no sense of taste – it is required to dissolve the chemicals in food that stimulate the taste buds.
- Those sometimes-impressive spurts of saliva that can occur when yawning occur because a muscle contracts and presses the sublingual glands.
- Saliva is full of antimicrobial and antifungal proteins that contribute to healing and repairing injuries inside the mouth.
- Production of saliva drops during sleep which leads to “morning breath.”
- It takes a very small amount of saliva to collect a complete DNA sample that includes all of our genetic information.
- Saliva moistens the mouth and tongue making it easier to shape the tongue and lips to produce sounds for speech.
- The saliva of a newborn’s parents can be effective as an antibacterial for cleaning pacifiers that have been dropped compared to using water. The same study found those babies were less likely to develop asthma or eczema.
- A painkiller, called “opiorphin,” produced in saliva is stronger than morphine and is being tested for other applications because there is no threat of addiction or other damaging side effects.
Don’t Take Your Saliva for Granted
Excessive “dry mouth” is a signal that you need to visit the dentist. We can examine you and determine the cause behind your reduced saliva production. Mild cases often need only a good mouthwash, while more difficult cases may require more comprehensive treatment.