Call it spit, drool or dribble. Saliva might be gross but it is a necessary secretion. Unlike blood and tears, saliva is a less discussed liquid. You spit it and sometimes swallow, but have you ever taken time to think about it?
Your saliva is 98 percent water. The other percentage comprises of important substances that aid in the breakdown of food besides keeping our teeth clean and strong for that healthy smile. On that note, did you know that your mouth produces enough spit that can fill two bath tubs in one year? Eew, now that’s gross!
Here are some more Mclean fun facts about saliva you may not know
Saliva can tell about your introvert or extrovert personality
The amount of saliva that you produce on a regular basis can be used to tell if you introverted or extroverted. How? Well, the part of the brain that is stimulated by social contact and which is also responsible for saliva production is called Reticular Activating System (RAS). In introverts, the RAS is highly active and easily aroused than in extroverts, since they do a lot of deep thinking than social interaction. So when introverts interact with others, their RAS goes into a panic mode thereby increasing saliva production. So no wonder introverts keep their mouths closed most of the time.
- Your Saliva is the strongest natural painkiller
If you are looking for relief to that constant pain, the answer is right there in your mouth. Your saliva contains a very rich substance called opiorphin, a painkiller known to be six times stronger and effective than morphine. Opiorphin works by preventing the chemicals (enkephalins) that signal the brain when you are in pain from reaching the brain. The best part of this is that opiorphin doesn’t have any addictive or life-threatening side effects.
- Mouth lubricant
Saliva is made up of 99 percent water along with other minerals that are crucial in oral health. This acts as a lubricant protecting the teeth and gums. Chronic lack of saliva causes increased acidity that leads to cavities and gum disease. The calcium and phosphate minerals in the saliva counteract teeth damaging acid formation thereby reversing the tooth decay process.
- Saliva production is time conscious!
Saliva production is an unconscious process controlled by the nervous system. However, in the 2-4 pints of saliva you produce a day, the highest is in the afternoon while the lowest amount is produced in the evening!
- Wound healing properties
Ever wondered why your mouth wounds heal faster than skin wounds? Well, saliva contains proteins and significant amounts of tissue factors which accelerate blood clotting which is vital in the healing process. The humid environment created by saliva is perfect for the survival of inflammatory cells which are important for faster wound healing.
- A diagnostic fluid
Saliva is considered as a very reliable diagnostic fluid which can be used in place of blood tests to monitor or detect diseases like Hepatitis C, HIV, oral cancer and diabetes among others. Saliva can also be used for monitoring smoking and alcohol intake.
You can spit or swallow but don’t take your saliva for granted. It shouldn’t be considered gross unless it’s drooling out of someone’s mouth!