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Saliva

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Saliva refers to the fluid secreted by the salivary glands. There are numerous small salivary glands in the oral mucosa (lining) in addition to the three major salivary glands, namely the parotid, submandibular, and sublingual glands.
Depending on the gland of origin, the saliva may be watery (serous), slimy (mucous), or a combination of both (sero-mucous). The small glands mainly produce mucous saliva, whereas the large glands mainly produce serous saliva; therefore, there is a mixture of different saliva types in the oral cavity. An adult produces approximately 0.6–1.5 litres of saliva per day. Saliva is continuously secreted even when no food is ingested.
Saliva contains many different components, including complex polysaccharides, proteins, ions (e.g., calcium, potassium, sodium, and chloride), and traces of fluoride and rhodanide. Blood group components and antibodies are also found in saliva along with numerous mineral salts necessary to maintain the hardness of dental enamel and protect it from attack by acids. Almost every time we eat, bacteria convert the sugar contained in the food into acid. This acid attacks the surface of the tooth and destroys the minerals there. The natural protective function of saliva then comes into play. Saliva contains natural mineral components that dilute and destroy these acids. In addition, saliva supports the absorption of minerals by the enamel (remineralization), thereby protecting against caries. As long as there is a balance between demineralization and remineralization, problems are unlikely. However, too many carbohydrate-containing snacks consumed in between meals will overload this defense system. The first sign of early caries is a white spot on the enamel; at this stage, the process can be reversed with fluoride treatment.
Saliva does not only protect our teeth. By keeping our oral cavity moist, it enables us to swallow, speak, and taste. Saliva also has an antibacterial effect through its components such as lysozyme, immunoglobin A, lactoferrin, and histatin. In addition, saliva promotes the absorption of vitamin B12.
A temporary increase in the flow of saliva is usually a reflex triggered by particular external influences:
taste: stimulation of the taste buds by food
touch: stimulation of the sensory nerves in the oral cavity
smell: stimulation of the olfactory nerves in the nasal sinuses
sight: stimulation of the optic nerves in the orbital region
stimulation of the gastric and intestinal nerves

In addition, excessive (sialorrhea) or less (xerostomia) production of saliva can be a sign of systemic disease and should be evaluated by a doctor.

Saliva