7 Fascinating Facts About Saliva

Saliva is one of those things that is a constant in our lives – yet we tend not to give it a second thought. But the clear liquid actually plays quite a large role in our overall health and oral hygiene. Saliva helps kill bacteria and protects our teeth against decay. It is also a key component in how we speak and swallow. When we chew, our salivary glands are prompted to compress – which in turn releases saliva. There are so many things our Berwick dental clinic can say on saliva so we’re going to get straight into it by looking seven fascinating facts about it.

1.   It heals wounds quickly

Saliva contains a protein called histatin which has antibacterial properties. So, when you have a wound in your mouth the saliva will heal it at a much faster rate than a wound found anywhere else on your body.


2.   It is the main line of defence against tooth decay

Being that saliva is an ever-present liquid in your mouth, it is considered the primary defence when it comes to bacteria and tooth decay. When you consume food and sweets, the saliva is what washes all the particles and sugar away. If not for saliva, then all these foreign agents would linger and break-down in your mouth – resulting in decay.


3.    We produce over half a litre of saliva per day

Approximately 600ml of saliva is produced daily by mature salivary glands. The rate can vary depending on multiple factors – such as how often we see, smell or think about something that makes our mouths salivate more.

Our mouths produce less saliva when we’re sleeping or dehydrated – but also if we’re nervous or anxious. The amount of saliva we produce daily is roughly enough to fill up two bathtubs worth by the end of the year.


4.   It holds the secret to your identity

Whilst it’s pretty well known that saliva holds our DNA, it’s probably less well-known that it can actually tell our age as well. This is due to a process called methylation – by which methyl is added to our DNA. The methyl affects certain genes and when those genes are focused on, your age (within five years) can be guessed.


5.   It is essential to breaking down food

Saliva softens foods that we eat, making them easier to consume and digest. It also contains amylase, which is an enzyme responsible for breaking down starches.


6.   Salivary stones are a thing

Similarly to kidney stones, you can develop salivary stones that block the flow of saliva. When there’s a build-up of calcium in the duct connecting your salivary gland to your mouth, a salivary stone can form. This is something that seems to predominantly affect males and varies from person to person. Sometimes certain people retain more minerals in their mouths compared to others – resulting in the calcium-heavy stone to form.

Smaller stones can pass on their own and can be eased at home by using methods such as anti-inflammatories, applying warm pressure on the affected area, drinking water or even sucking on a lemon. For larger stones, an invasive procedure may need to have been had in the form of opening up the salivary gland with the intent of breaking down the conglomeration of calcium.


7.   You need saliva to taste

It turns out that food molecules must be dissolved in saliva first before your tastebuds can actually recognise them as food. So if we didn’t have saliva, then we wouldn’t be able to taste anything, which is pretty scary.


Looking to visit our Berwick dental clinic?

Eden Rise Dental is a family-oriented dental clinic located in Berwick. Our Berwick dental clinic offers high-quality dental services that are administered in a comfortable and relaxed environment. We have been in operation for almost 20 years and employ highly qualified and experienced Doctors.

Some of the many services we specialise in – in addition to general dentistry – include cosmetic dentistry, dental implants, orthodontics and braces, children’s dentistry and root canal therapy.

So, if you require a visit to the dentist, get in contact with our Berwick dental clinic by calling us on (03) 9702 6111. You may also fill out the enquiry form on our website.