Saliva (commonly referred to as spit) is an extracellular fluid produced and secreted by salivary glands in the mouth. In humans, saliva is 99.5% water plus electrolytes, mucus, white blood cells, epithelial cells (from which DNA can be extracted), enzymes (such as amylase and lipase), antimicrobial agents such as secretory IgA, and lysozymes.
The enzymes found in saliva are essential in beginning the process of digestion of dietary starches and fats. These enzymes also play a role in breaking down food particles entrapped within dental crevices, thus protecting teeth from bacterial decay.Saliva also performs a lubricating function, wetting food and permitting the initiation of swallowing, and protecting the oral mucosa from drying out.
Various animal species have special uses for saliva that go beyond predigestion. Some swifts use their gummy saliva to build nests. Aerodramus nests form the basis of bird's nest soup.Cobras, vipers, and certain other members of the venom clade hunt with venomous saliva injected by fangs. Some caterpillars produce silk fiber from silk proteins stored in modified salivary glands.
Produced in salivary glands, human saliva comprises 99.5% water, but also contains many important substances, including electrolytes, mucus, antibacterial compounds and various enzymes.
There is much debate about the amount of saliva that is produced in a healthy person per day is 1500ml per day while it is generally accepted that during sleep the amount drops significantly.In humans, the submandibular gland contributes around 70–75% of secretion, while the parotid gland secretes about 20–25% and small amounts are secreted from the other salivary glands.
Saliva contributes to the digestion of food and to the maintenance of oral hygiene. Without normal salivary function the frequency of dental caries, gum disease (gingivitis and periodontitis), and other oral problems increases significantly.[ citation needed ]
Saliva coats the oral mucosa mechanically protecting it from trauma during eating, swallowing, and speaking. Mouth soreness is very common in people with reduced saliva (xerostomia) and food (especially dry food) sticks to the inside of the mouth.
The digestive functions of saliva include moistening food and helping to create a food bolus. The lubricative function of saliva allows the food bolus to be passed easily from the mouth into the esophagus. Saliva contains the enzyme amylase, also called ptyalin, which is capable of breaking down starch into simpler sugars such as maltose and dextrin that can be further broken down in the small intestine. About 30% of starch digestion takes place in the mouth cavity. Salivary glands also secrete salivary lipase (a more potent form of lipase) to begin fat digestion. Salivary lipase plays a large role in fat digestion in newborn infants as their pancreatic lipase still needs some time to develop.
Saliva is very important in the sense of taste. It is the liquid medium in which chemicals are carried to taste receptor cells (mostly associated with lingual papillae). Persons with little saliva often complain of dysgeusia (i.e. disordered taste, e.g. reduced ability to taste, or having a bad, metallic taste at all times). Another condition, recently identified which affects taste, is that of 'Saliva Hypernatrium' or excessive amounts of sodium in saliva that is not caused by any other condition (e.g., Sjögren syndrome ). Though a rare condition and currently being researched, 'Saliva Hypernatrium' over-powers all other taste sensations making everything taste 'salty'.
The production of saliva is stimulated both by the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic.
The saliva stimulated by sympathetic innervation is thicker, and saliva stimulated parasympathetically is more fluid-like.
Sympathetic stimulation of saliva is to facilitate respiration, whereas parasympathetic stimulation is to facilitate digestion.
Parasympathetic stimulation leads to acetylcholine (ACh) release onto the salivary acinar cells. ACh binds to muscarinic receptors, specifically M3, and causes an increased intracellular calcium ion concentration (through the IP3/DAG second messenger system). Increased calcium causes vesicles within the cells to fuse with the apical cell membrane leading to secretion. ACh also causes the salivary gland to release kallikrein, an enzyme that converts kininogen to lysyl-bradykinin. Lysyl-bradykinin acts upon blood vessels and capillaries of the salivary gland to generate vasodilation and increased capillary permeability, respectively. The resulting increased blood flow to the acini allows the production of more saliva. In addition, Substance P can bind to Tachykinin NK-1 receptors leading to increased intracellular calcium concentrations and subsequently increased saliva secretion. Lastly, both parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous stimulation can lead to myoepithelium contraction which causes the expulsion of secretions from the secretory acinus into the ducts and eventually to the oral cavity.
Sympathetic stimulation results in the release of norepinephrine. Norepinephrine binding to α-adrenergic receptors will cause an increase in intracellular calcium levels leading to more fluid vs. protein secretion. If norepinephrine binds β-adrenergic receptors, it will result in more protein or enzyme secretion vs. fluid secretion. Stimulation by norepinephrine initially decreases blood flow to the salivary glands due to constriction of blood vessels but this effect is overtaken by vasodilation caused by various local vasodilators.
Saliva production may also be pharmacologically stimulated by the so-called sialagogues. It can also be suppressed by the so-called antisialagogues.
Spitting is the act of forcibly ejecting saliva or other substances from the mouth. In many parts of the world, it is considered rude and a social taboo, and has even been outlawed in many countries. In Western countries, for example, it has often been outlawed for reasons of public decency and attempting to reduce the spread of disease; however, these laws are often not strictly enforced.[ citation needed ] In Singapore, the fine for spitting may be as high as SGD$2,000 for multiple offenses, and one can even be arrested. In some other parts of the world, such as in China, expectoration is more socially acceptable (even if officially disapproved of or illegal), and spittoons are still a common appearance in some cultures. Some animals, even humans in some cases, use spitting as an automatic defensive maneuver. Camels are well known for doing this, though most domestic camels are trained not to.
Many birds in the swift family, Apodidae, produce a viscous saliva during nesting season to glue together materials to construct a nest.Two species of swifts in the genus Aerodramus build their nests using only their saliva, the base for bird's nest soup.
A common belief is that saliva contained in the mouth has natural disinfectants, which leads people to believe it is beneficial to "lick their wounds". Researchers at the University of Florida at Gainesville have discovered a protein called nerve growth factor (NGF) in the saliva of mice. Wounds doused with NGF healed twice as fast as untreated and unlicked wounds; therefore, saliva can help to heal wounds in some species. NGF has not been found in human saliva; however, researchers find human saliva contains such antibacterial agents as secretory IgA, lactoferrin, lysozyme and peroxidase.It has not been shown that human licking of wounds disinfects them, but licking is likely to help clean the wound by removing larger contaminants such as dirt and may help to directly remove infective bodies by brushing them away. Therefore, licking would be a way of wiping off pathogens, useful if clean water is not available to the animal or person.
In Pavlov's experiment, dogs were conditioned to salivate in response to a ringing bell, this stimulus is associated with a meal or hunger. Salivary secretion is also associated with nausea. Saliva is usually formed in the mouth through an act called gleeking, which can be voluntary or involuntary.
Some old cultures chewed grains to produce alcoholic beverages, such as chicha,kasiri or sake.
A number of commercially available saliva substitutes exist.
The pancreas is an organ of the digestive system and endocrine system of vertebrates. In humans, it is located in the abdomen behind the stomach and functions as a gland. The pancreas has both an endocrine and a digestive exocrine function. As an endocrine gland, it functions mostly to regulate blood sugar levels, secreting the hormones insulin, glucagon, somatostatin, and pancreatic polypeptide. As a part of the digestive system, it functions as an exocrine gland secreting pancreatic juice into the duodenum through the pancreatic duct. This juice contains bicarbonate, which neutralizes acid entering the duodenum from the stomach; and digestive enzymes, which break down carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in food entering the duodenum from the stomach.
The stomach is a muscular, hollow organ in the gastrointestinal tract of humans and many other animals, including several invertebrates. The stomach has a dilated structure and functions as a vital digestive organ. In the digestive system the stomach is involved in the second phase of digestion, following chewing. It performs a chemical breakdown due to enzymes and hydrochloric acid.
Exocrine glands are glands that secrete substances onto an epithelial surface by way of a duct. Examples of exocrine glands include sweat, salivary, mammary, ceruminous, lacrimal, sebaceous, and mucous. Exocrine glands are one of two types of glands in the human body, the other being endocrine glands, which secrete their products directly into the bloodstream. The liver and pancreas are both exocrine and endocrine glands; they are exocrine glands because they secrete products—bile and pancreatic juice—into the gastrointestinal tract through a series of ducts, and endocrine because they secrete other substances directly into the bloodstream.
Digestion is the breakdown of large insoluble food molecules into small water-soluble food molecules so that they can be absorbed into the watery blood plasma. In certain organisms, these smaller substances are absorbed through the small intestine into the blood stream. Digestion is a form of catabolism that is often divided into two processes based on how food is broken down: mechanical and chemical digestion. The term mechanical digestion refers to the physical breakdown of large pieces of food into smaller pieces which can subsequently be accessed by digestive enzymes. In chemical digestion, enzymes break down food into the small molecules the body can use.
The salivary glands in mammals are exocrine glands that produce saliva through a system of ducts. Humans have three paired major salivary glands as well as hundreds of minor salivary glands. Salivary glands can be classified as serous, mucous or seromucous (mixed).
The parotid gland is a major salivary gland in many animals. In humans, the two parotid glands are present on either side of the mouth and in front of both ears. They are the largest of the salivary glands. Each parotid is wrapped around the mandibular ramus, and secretes serous saliva through the parotid duct into the mouth, to facilitate mastication and swallowing and to begin the digestion of starches. There are also two other types of salivary glands; they are submandibular and sublingual glands. Sometimes accessory parotid glands are found close to the main parotid glands.
Gastric acid, gastric juice, or sometimes known as stomach acid, is a digestive fluid formed in the stomach membrane and is composed of hydrochloric acid, potassium chloride, and sodium chloride. The acid plays a key role in digestion of proteins, by activating digestive enzymes, and making ingested proteins unravel so that digestive enzymes break down the long chains of amino acids. Gastric acid is produced by cells in the lining of the stomach, which are coupled in feedback systems to increase acid production when needed. Other cells in the stomach produce bicarbonate, a base, to buffer the fluid, ensuring that it does not become too acidic. These cells also produce mucus, which forms a viscous physical barrier to prevent gastric acid from damaging the stomach. The pancreas further produces large amounts of bicarbonate and secretes bicarbonate through the pancreatic duct to the duodenum to completely neutralize any gastric acid that passes further down into the digestive tract.
The paired submandibular glands are major salivary glands located beneath the floor of the mouth. They each weigh about 15 grams and contribute some 60–67% of unstimulated saliva secretion; on stimulation their contribution decreases in proportion as the parotid secretion rises to 50%.
Digestive enzymes are a group of enzymes that break down polymeric macromolecules into their smaller building blocks, in order to facilitate their absorption by the body. Digestive enzymes are found in the digestive tracts of animals and in the tracts of carnivorous plants, where they aid in the digestion of food, as well as inside cells, especially in their lysosomes, where they function to maintain cellular survival. Digestive enzymes of diverse specificities are found in the saliva secreted by the salivary glands, in the secretions of cells lining the stomach, in the pancreatic juice secreted by pancreatic exocrine cells, and in the secretions of cells lining the small and large intestines.
Xerostomia, also known as dry mouth, is dryness in the mouth, which may be associated with a change in the composition of saliva, or reduced salivary flow, or have no identifiable cause.
Epidermal growth factor (EGF) is a protein that stimulates cell growth and differentiation by binding to its receptor, EGFR. Human EGF is 6-kDa and has 53 amino acid residues and three intramolecular disulfide bonds.
Pancreatic juice is a liquid secreted by the pancreas, which contains a variety of enzymes, including trypsinogen, chymotrypsinogen, elastase, carboxypeptidase, pancreatic lipase, nucleases and amylase. The pancreas is located in the visceral region, and is a major part of the digestive system required for proper digestion and subsequent assimilation of macronutrient substances required for living.
In physiology, the term serous fluid or serosal fluid is any of various body fluids resembling serum, that are typically pale yellow and transparent and of a benign nature. The fluid fills the inside of body cavities. Serous fluid originates from serous glands, with secretions enriched with proteins and water. Serous fluid may also originate from mixed glands, which contain both mucous and serous cells. A common trait of serous fluids is their role in assisting digestion, excretion, and respiration.
Sialolithiasis, is a condition where a calcified mass or sialolith forms within a salivary gland, usually in the duct of the submandibular gland. Less commonly the parotid gland or rarely the sublingual gland or a minor salivary gland may develop salivary stones.
A sialogogue, sialagogue, ptysmagogue or ptyalagogue is a drug or substance that increases the flow rate of saliva.
This article describes the anatomy of the head and neck of the human body, including the brain, bones, muscles, blood vessels, nerves, glands, nose, mouth, teeth, tongue, and throat.
Gastrointestinal physiology is the branch of human physiology that addresses the physical function of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The function of the GI tract is to process ingested food by mechanical and chemical means, extract nutrients and excrete waste products. The GI tract is composed of the alimentary canal, that runs from the mouth to the anus, as well as the associated glands, chemicals, hormones, and enzymes that assist in digestion.The major processes that occur in the GI tract are: motility, secretion, regulation, digestion and circulation. The proper function and coordination of these processes are vital for maintaining good health by providing for the effective digestion and uptake of nutrients.
The cephalic phase of digestion is the gastric secretion that occurs even before food enters the oral cavity. It results from the visual, olfactory, and auditory inputs to the brain induce anticipatory responses to prepare the gastrointestinal tract for the meal. The more intense is the stimulation. Neurogenic signals that cause the cephalic phase of gastric secretion originate from the cerebral cortex and in the appetite centers of the amygdala and hypothalamus.They are transmitted through the dorsal nucleus of vagus nerve, and then through the vagus nerve to the stomach. This phase of secretion normally accounts for about 20 percent of the gastric secretion associated with eating a meal. Gastric secretion in response to sensory stimuli prepares the gastrointestinal tract for food processing. These cephalic phase responses are both innate and acquired.
Salivary gland diseases (SGD) are multiple and varied in cause.
The human digestive system consists of the gastrointestinal tract plus the accessory organs of digestion. Digestion involves the breakdown of food into smaller and smaller components, until they can be absorbed and assimilated into the body. The process of digestion has three stages. The first stage is the cephalic phase of digestion which begins with gastric secretions in response to the sight and smell of food. This stage includes the mechanical breakdown of food by chewing, and the chemical breakdown by digestive enzymes, that takes place in the mouth.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Saliva .|