13 Dec Saliva What is it? What function does it have?
Saliva may be a cause of having to visit our dentist more often. We believe that it is not so important, but saliva has many functions, among which are maintaining oral health in good condition and also help in the first phase of digestion.
We must start knowing that it is saliva; It is an insipid, odorless, colorless and slightly foamy liquid that originates in the salivary glands. These glands are distributed throughout all parts of the palate and mouth. Saliva is therefore made up of 99% water, which helps to dissolve food and allows you to perceive the flavors through the sense of taste. The remaining 1% is made up of different substances: on the one hand the inorganic substances formed by the bicarbonate and the phosphates to eliminate the acids that could cause cavities. And on the other hand the organic substances composed of glycoproteins, immunoglobulins, proteins and enzymes.
There are 3 pairs of major salivary glands, where saliva originates:
The sublingual: These are the smallest and produce 2% of saliva.
The submaxillary: These are located in the back of the jaw, under the tongue. They produce 70% of saliva.
The parodite: These are the largest, and are located on the sides of the mouth, behind the cheeks. They produce 28% of the saliva
In addition to these we must take into account the minor glands located on the tongue, palate and lips.
If any of the glands does not work properly it can lead to a problem of xerostomia, which causes a sensation of dry mouth.
The main functions of saliva are:
Protection: By acting as an antacid, minimizes the accumulation of bacterial plaque in the teeth and that prevents cavities. In addition to protecting bucondental health also that of our body.
Digestion: As mentioned, participates in the first phase of digestion as a primary factor. When it is mixed with chewed foods, a bolus of food is produced, which is easier to swallow thanks to the saliva and thus be able to start with digestion.
Remineralizer: It helps in the health of your teeth, which does not mean neglecting your care, but it does provide nutrients and minerals.
Lubrication: Helps that foods with a hard texture or that could damage our organism soften, and are less offensive.
Maintains PH: It has an enzyme that together with other substances make the mouth have a good PH.
Gustative: it contributes the sensitivity to the sense of taste, thanks to it we perceive the sensations of the flavors, since it sharpens them.
Indicator: It is a reflection of whether the person has a correct hydration.
We must be careful with our oral health, and always follow the recommended habits, in such a way we will maintain good oral health.