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Importance of saliva

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Importance of saliva

Article by Dr. Aayushi Dubey

Saliva is a vital part of a healthy body. Saliva has a significant role in keeping mucosal integrity and indigestion through salivary Enzymes. It is fluid that contains Mucus, Electrolytes, White Blood Cells, Water, and Enzymes, all of which flow out of the acinus into collecting ducts, certainly one of the most important components and an integral part of our Oral Cavity. It is an extracellular fluid produced and secreted by salivary glands in the mouth, which influences oral health through specific and nonspecific physical and chemical properties. Saliva and Blood are brothers in the body and they come from the same origin. It is believed that alterations in saliva are indicative of the wellness of the patient. The thickness and smell of saliva, as well as patients’ gustatory sensation of their own saliva, it is an indication of distinct diseases and state of the body.

Few important functions of saliva; Immune function, salivary mucosal pellicle forms the structural basis of the local innate immune defense mechanism of the oral mucosa. Human saliva contains several physicochemical agents that protect oral tissues against noxious compounds. Role of lubrication, the complex mix of salivary constituents provides an effective set of systems for lubricating and protecting the soft and hard tissues. The antimicrobial and lubricating functions of saliva are maintained mainly by resting; saliva results in a flushing effect and the clearance of oral debris and noxious agents. Role of digestion, high quality of saliva is an essential factor to protect the dental elements against attrition and promote the digestion process. Saliva is the principal fluid component of the external environment of the taste receptor cells which is involved in the transport of taste substances and protection of the taste receptor. The role of human saliva and its compositional elements in relation to the Gastro-Intestinal functions of taste, enzymatic digestion, mastication, bolus formation, and swallowing. Role of diagnostic properties, Analysis of saliva may be useful for the diagnosis of hereditary disorders, autoimmune diseases, malignant and infectious diseases, and endocrine disorders, as well as in the assessment of therapeutic levels of drugs and the monitoring of illicit drug use. Role of maintenance of healthy teeth, the role of saliva, the prevalence of oral dryness, and the consequent importance of salivary flow as well as the relationship between Xerostomia and Salivary Gland Hypofunction amongst the causes of oral aridness.  Saliva is used in diagnostic testing, yeast, bacterial, and viral counts indicating caries activity and altered immune responses, as well as many diagnostic tests for oral as well as systemic diseases.

Stimulation of saliva flow results in an increase in the washing out of acids (and sugars), and an increase in the amount and concentration of bicarbonate buffer and of remineralizing ions. Clinical studies have revealed that eating sugar-free gum stimulates the salivary glands to produce a strong flow of saliva. The effect of stimulation is to upsurge the concentration of bicarbonate in the saliva entering the mouth. This bicarbonate raises the pH of the saliva and greatly increases its buffering power: the saliva is, consequently, much more effective in neutralizing and buffering food acids and acids arising in plaque from the fermentation of carbohydrates.

Thus, Saliva is essential information of the pellicle, which protects the tooth after the eruption.

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