Saliva: a natural disinfectant of our mouth

Saliva is our best ally against tooth decay and infections of the oral mucosa.

Each has three pairs of major salivary glands that secrete on average 1.5 liters of saliva per day. Saliva is 98% water, 0.5% protein and an ion multitude minerals / calcium, fluorides, phosphates, etc. These proportions vary from one individual to another, and in the same person, depending on the stress, smoking, hormonal cycles and possible malfunction of the salivary glands.


Saliva initiates digestion and absorb the food bowl. As the lubricant, it facilitates the chewing and swallowing.

Other major role, saliva neutralizes oral acidity. A drop of saliva secretion increases and the acidity can cause caries and gingivitis. Saliva enhances remineralization of the enamel and thus repairs the micro changes which undergoes daily enamel of our teeth. Note: in case of repeated snacking saliva did not have time to play a protective role against the development of bacteria.

Finally, saliva has a healing power on the internal wounds, especially caused by chewing. It contains some proteins capable of destroying foreign microorganisms and reduce the risk of candidiasis.


Saliva flow can sometimes decrease. Saliva then runs out, either because of an autoimmune disease (Sjögren’s syndrome or rheumatoid arthritis), or after irradiation of the salivary glands by radiotherapy of the head and neck, or even when taking certain medications such as antihistamines, antidepressants or antipsychotics.


This drought then gives a pasty tongue. It is difficult to speak, to swallow. A mucosal infection can occur, as well as caries.

To stimulate saliva flow here first conventional means:

  • acid taste (citrus juice, apples)
  • chewing gums and lozenges (sugar) because chewing stimulates salivation
  • salivary substitutes • oral gel which moistens mucous membranes
  • the spray of water, using both simple and convenient

Lastly there are drugs to be taken orally that stimulate salivation.

Warning: Chewing gum is not recommended if you wear braces or some types of prosthesis.

Our advices

  • Treatment of decreased salivary flow are based on the cause that provoked.
  • To avoid more serious problems, do not wait to see your doctor if you feel any discomfort.