11 Facts About Saliva That Will Make You Love Your Spit

11 Facts About Saliva That Will Make You Love Your Spit
This article was originally published by Abi Mclntosh on www.buzzfeed.com

1. You could potentially produce enough saliva to fill two bathtubs a year.

Saliva production varies considerably from person to person, but on average most people produce 0.7 litres of saliva per day which is enough to fill two medium sized bathtubs a year.

2. Saliva protects teeth and gums and helps to lubricate the mouth.

Saliva is crucial to oral health, helping to kill bacteria and fight infection and tooth decay.

3. Saliva is essential to the breakdown of food.

Saliva is mainly composed of water and is key to food digestion. The water in saliva begins to soften food to make it easier to swallow.

Without saliva it would be impossible to digest food as it would not be properly broken down and we would be unable wash away food any left over debris.

4. Food molecules must dissolve in saliva in order to be recognised by taste buds.

Food is carried to the taste buds via saliva in order to be recognised.

5. Saliva helps wounds in the mouth heal faster than wounds elsewhere on the body.

Your saliva helps to create a humid environment in your mouth which helps out cells that you need to heal wounds. And saliva contains proteins your body uses to heal, too.

6. When you are nervous or frightened, saliva production is reduced.

It is very common for your mouth to become dry if you're feeling anxious or nervous. Saliva flow is controlled by the nervous system so can be reduced as part of the "fight or flight" response.

7. Saliva samples can be used to diagnose disease.

Having a constantly dry mouth can be an indication of some serious health problems or disease.

By just screening for a specific protein in your saliva, doctors have the ability to assess heart disease risk, and even screen for other diseases.

8. You can get salivary gland stones similar to kidney stones.

Saliva is formed in the salivary glands and then flows into your mouth. Sometimes, the chemicals in saliva can crystalize to form a tiny stone and can block saliva from entering the mouth.

Most stones are smaller than 1cm but some can be as big as few centimeters. The stones may dislodge on their own but sometimes they have to be surgically removed.

9. The current world record for the longest saliva stone is 37mm long.

The stone weighed 3.6g and was removed from a 43 year old man by doctors in Cyprus.

10. Saliva contains a natural pain killer.

The substance, called opiorphin, was discovered in 2006 and is thought to be a painkiller up to six times more powerful than morphine.

According to a paper published about its discovery, opiorphin appears to be an inhibitor of pain perception.

11. Chewing sugar-free gum increases saliva production and is good for your teeth.

Several studies have found that chewing sugar-free gum results in a reduction of dental cavities.

There is some evidence to suggest that because chewing gum stimulates saliva production, more saliva is available to defend against bacteria and prevent tooth decay.