Salivary Components and Their Functions

Saliva provides a physical barrier against local irritants; lubricates and cleans oral tissues; promotes mucosal repair; maintains a stable intraoral pH and electrolyte balance; and prevents demineralization and contributes to remineralization of dental hard tissues.15,16 Saliva contains antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal components, which help to maintain the normal oral flora.17 Saliva facilitates mastication, the formation of a bolus, swallowing, initiates food processing, and affects taste. Saliva has a salutary effect on speech.11 Collectively, these functions can be categorized as protective or food- and speech-related; in addition, saliva is an ideal body fluid for the diagnosis of a number of local and systemic conditions.1,18-20