Saliva is a clear fluid that is produced constantly in the mouth. It consists mostly of water and a few other chemical elements.
The salivary glands found along the inner part of each cheek produce between about 1 or 2 liters of this fluid a day. Some of the functions of saliva include the following:
- Saliva helps moisten food and makes digestion easier. Without saliva, a grilled cheese sandwich would be dry and hard to digest.
- It helps the tongue to distinguish different tastes. A dry tongue cannot determine flavor, it needs saliva to stay moist.
- It decomposes food before it reaches the stomach. This is done with the help of enzymes, chemicals that are found in the saliva.
- It cleans the inside of the mouth and rinses the teeth to keep them clean. Do not forget, however, that it is essential to complement this function by brushing your teeth and using dental floss on a regular basis.
- Most school-age children have just the right amount of saliva. Sometimes a person may not have enough, but this is the result of consuming certain medications or treatments that must be taken due to having certain kinds of diseases, or because of old age.
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