Our bodies are remarkable things, are they not? Think about how many functions you are completing day by day without even your conscious knowledge. In the ten seconds it has taken to read this, your body has taken in oxygen to supply energy to your cells and it has released carbon dioxide as waste.
Sometimes, something that may appear useless to us is actually the reason we are still alive. Saliva for one is a good example of something that may seem useless, but is in fact essential for keeping your teeth healthy, strong and void of any diseases. Let’s see how…
WHAT IS SALIVA?
First and foremost, do we really know what this fluid is? It is funny because saliva is something that will always be swirling around your mouth and running down your throat, and if not there is a big problem brewing, yet we most probably don’t know what it consists of.
Saliva is a fluid that is produced in the salivary gland and is made up of 98% water, along with other vital substances such as enzymes and electrolytes. The muscus, which makes up only 0.5% of the saliva, is responsible for the protection of the teeth from bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease.
SALIVA ACTS AS A LUBRICANT
This may seem like an obvious one because your mouth is always moist thanks to the saliva that lives and is produces in it. However, do we realise how important that is? Without a lubricant in the mouth many everyday functions would not be able to take place – in a nutshell, by the saliva coating the mouth in a fluid prevents all types of irritation and assists in airflow, speech and swallowing.
SALIVA PROTECTS TOOTH ENAMEL
Enamel is the outer coating on your teeth, and if it isn’t there then you will have big problems obviously. One way saliva protects it is by diluting down the acids in your mouth, these acids erode tooth enamel if undiluted, as well as sugars from food and drink that you consume. Another way is by coating the teeth in Calcium and other minerals which protect it.
ASSISTING BASIC FUNCTIONS
Eating and speaking is something that we take for granted almost every day. Can you imagine a world where you cannot speak or eat? That is in fact a world without saliva. Saliva contains enzymes that assist in the digestion of certain foods, it also cleanses the mouth after each meal, and don’t forget that it enhances your taste. When it comes to talking, it would become almost impossible without the lubrication that saliva provides.
I hope that you have a new found appreciation for the liquid that lives in your mouth. Without saliva our teeth would be unprotected from bacteria, our mouths would not be comfortable, our speech would be almost impossible, and our food would not digest properly. Clearly, saliva is essential for all our general needs. Next time you want to spit on someone, rethink it. Saliva is liquid gold.