10 Facts about Saliva….Tidbits about Spit

Spit may be disgusting but it is one of the most interesting bodily fluids we have.

  1. Humans produce 1-2 litres of saliva per day.
  2. Saliva is 98% water, but it contains many important substances, including electrolytes, mucus, antibacterial compounds and various enzymes. One of the enzyme found in saliva is amylase that breaks some starches down into maltose and dextrin and starts the digestive process.
  3. The water in your saliva comes from your blood.
  4. Saliva production becomes increased while eating or preparing to eat , or even watching or smelling food being cooked. Saliva production is reduced when you are stressed, nervous or frightened. Chewing sugar free gum with xylitol increases saliva production which is actually good for your teeth. Certain diseases and medicines can affect how much saliva you make. If you do not make enough saliva, your mouth can become quite dry. This condition is called dry mouth (xerostomia).Dry mouth causes the gums, tongue, and other tissues in the mouth to become swollen and uncomfortable. Germs thrive in this type of setting. A germy, dry mouth leads to bad breath
  5. Your spit contains your entire genetic blueprint.
  6. Humans have 3 major pairs of salivary gland in the mouth that produce all your saliva. Parotid (in the cheeks), Submandibular( near the lower jaw) and Sublingual ( under the tongue).
  7. The antibacterial compounds found in saliva, and enzyme called Lysozyme, can provide a constant protective shield against various pathogens and bacteria that attack the gums, teeth and throat. Unfortunately, saliva production drops dramatically at night, which is why most bacterial growth in the mouth occurs while we sleep, leading to the dreaded “morning breath” and the morning plaque film on teeth.
  8. Optimal pH for saliva is about 7.4. The lower your pH value below 7.0, the greater your degree of acid stress. Food and drink change the pH of saliva. Age may be a factor also, as children have an average saliva pH of 7.5, while adults tend to be more acidic, with a saliva pH as low as 6.5. The pH level in the mouth affects the health of our teeth and gums and is a good indicator for our general health. Regulating the pH in the mouth will also help reduce the bacteria in our mouths, thereby reducing our risk for cavities, gum disease, and tooth decay. Bacteria feed off sugars that are commonly found in sucrose (table sugar), glucose, fructose, lactose, and cooked starches. Foods such as candies, sodas, pastas, animal proteins and breads, and even natural fruits, give bacteria in the mouth more fuel to produce lactic acid which is the acid that causes tooth decay.
  9. There are many diseases or illnesses that can be passed on through “swapping spit”…aka kissing. Aside from the common cold or flu, one can contract Herpes (HSV 1), Syphilis, bacterial Meningitis, Infectious Mononucleosis, Gingivitis and cavities.
  10. Saliva helps wounds in the mouth heal faster than wounds elsewhere on the body.

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