The salivary glands produce saliva, which keeps the mouth and other parts of the digestive system moist. Saliva is an important part of a healthy body. It is mostly made of water. But saliva also contains important substances that your body needs to digest food and keep your teeth strong.
Few functions of the saliva are:
- Chemical digestion: breaks down starch by the function of “salivary amylase”.
- Helps to chew and swallow.
- Lubricating effect: moisturizes the inside of the mouth and creates smoother speech
- Solvent effect: dissolves food and allows the tongue to taste food.
You cannot taste food unless it is mixed with saliva, this is due to chemo-receptors in your tongue’s taste buds that need a liquid medium so that the flavours bind to the receptor molecules. For example, if a strong-tasting substance like salt is placed on a dry tongue, the taste buds will not be able to taste it. As soon as a drop of saliva is added and the salt, however a definite taste sensation results.