Made by glands in your mouth, saliva is a clear and watery liquid that we manage everyday by swallowing. The glands in your mouth, called the salivary glands, have a rich blood supply, and when the blood goes through these glands, they pass through thin-walled capillaries called salivary tubes that leak water molecules. The capillaries are just large enough for water and some important antibodies to pass through, but not big enough for blood to leak through. So, saliva is made mostly of water, but also contains substances that the body needs to help digest food and keep the mouth healthy.
Saliva is vital to your health because it:
- Contains antibodies that help to fight away germs and viruses.
- Keeps your mouth moist.
- Helps you to chew and swallow
- Has proteins and substances that help protect tooth enamel
- Can help to keep dentures in place
The salivary glands are located inside each cheek, at the bottom of the mouth, and near the front teeth by the jaw bone. There are six major salivary glands and hundreds of minor salivary glands. The body is always making saliva, and can produce up to 2 to 4 pints of saliva a day.
Do you have questions about saliva and the role it plays in your dental hygiene? Contact the professionals at DentaLux today!
Saliva also stops viruses because it contains antibodies. It’s got an antibody called IgA which is one of the immunoglobulins which can neutralise viruses. Yes you can mop up a lot of colds and viruses and bacteria with the constituents of saliva. The antibody is secreted – you actually have a pump which pushes them into the saliva. They’re added after you’ve made the saliva or tears.