Without saliva, we could not taste, eat or swallow solid food (kind of makes you look at "spit" with new respect, doesn't it)?
Saliva comes from three glands situated in front of the ears, in the lower jaw and under the tongue.
These glands produce 95% of the body's saliva.
Saliva contains ingredients that buffer harsh foods and beverages so that they won't irritate the mouth's tissues.
The main function of saliva is to coat the tissues of the mouth. This produces the smooth sensation you feel when you run your tongue over your lips, teeth and gums.
As a result of Americans living longer through prescription drugs (including those for fighting depression, high blood pressure, diarrhea and weight loss), chronic dry mouth is a side effect and increasing problem.
Sjorgren's syndrome is a chronic inflammatory disease which greatly cuts the flow of saliva.
It also causes dry mouth, as well as dry eyes and joint pain.
Dry mouth can also occur simply due to natural aging. As we grow older, salivary gland functions decrease.
The average person produces about 20 ounces of saliva a day.
When stimulated by food or drink entering the mouth, the glands can put out 10 to 20 times as much saliva.
Saliva helps the digestion process. It contains an enzyme-ptyalin-that breaks down starches, or complex carbohydrates into simple sugars so that they can be absorbed easily further along the intestinal tract. The fluid also helps to ease and propel food down into the body.
Saliva fights tooth decay by keeping oral bacteria from multiplying.
Saliva helps remove most food remnants and large amounts of harmful bacteria from the teeth, gums and other soft tissues in the mouth.
Cows make 200 times as much saliva as humans do!
The average person produces 10,000 gallons of saliva throughout their life.
And it's been estimated that amount's enough to fill up one or two large swimming pools during an average lifetime.