Saliva, the liquid that moistens the mucous membranes of the mouth, is secreted by the parotid, sublingual, submaxillary salivary glands, and the accessory glands beneath the mucosa. It consists mainly of water (99%), proteins, electrolyte ions, mineral salts, digestive enzymes and organic elements (1%). An adult produces an average of 1 liter per day. The flow is higher in standing and lying down, less in sitting position, and minimal at night.
Saliva plays several functions. It facilitates diction by lubricating the surface of the mucous membranes and intervenes in the digestion of food. Saliva and digestion Saliva facilitates swallowing and prepares food for digestion. It moistens foods during chewing to form a “food bowl”. Thus lubricated, food slides easily to the esophagus which prevents us from choking. It also participates in digestion by transforming certain components of food by chemical reaction, and thus facilitate their assimilation by the body. Finally, saliva promotes the functioning of taste buds that only work in a humid environment. It is she who allows us to feel the taste of food. Saliva as protection Saliva is also essential for maintaining oral cavity. It has indeed antibacterial properties.
It thus avoids the proliferation of undesirable microorganisms. It is a real bulwark against microbial invasions. Saturated with calcium and phosphate ions, saliva also prevents tooth enamel corrosion by creating a protective layer of molecules on their surfaces. The restorative property of saliva In addition to the functions mentioned above, saliva also plays a restorative role, regulating the pH of our mouth after food intake.
The fact is that after a meal, the pH of the mouth becomes acidic. Such an environment promotes the development of bacteria responsible for caries. The increase in salivary flow makes it possible to regulate this pH, and attenuates acid attacks. Better still, during this process, saliva remineralizes tooth enamel and repairs the effects of acid attacks. In any case, the effectiveness of saliva remains limited. This is why the need to drink can be felt during meals, or good oral hygiene is essential despite its antibacterial and restorative properties.