Salivation is an important physiological process that is essential for digestion and taste perception. Saliva is a clear, watery fluid that is secreted by the salivary glands in the mouth. It helps to moisten food, making it easier to swallow, and also contains enzymes that aid in the digestion of carbohydrates and fats. Saliva also helps to protect the oral cavity from bacteria, fungi, and other harmful pathogens.

The salivary glands are located in several places in the mouth, including the cheeks, tongue, and floor of the mouth. The parotid glands, located in the cheeks, are the largest salivary glands and are responsible for producing the most saliva. The submandibular glands, located under the mandible, produce the second largest volume of saliva. The sublingual glands, located beneath the tongue, produce the smallest volume of saliva.

The production of saliva is regulated by the autonomic nervous system and is affected by a number of factors, including psychological and environmental factors. Psychological factors such as stress, anxiety, and anticipation can lead to increased salivation, while environmental factors such as temperature, humidity, and food availability can also affect salivation. In addition, certain medications, such as anticholinergics, can reduce salivation.

The composition of saliva varies depending on the type of salivary gland and the individual. Saliva is composed mainly of water, but it also contains electrolytes, enzymes, proteins, and hormones. The most abundant electrolyte in saliva is sodium, followed by potassium, chloride, and bicarbonate. Saliva also contains amylase, an enzyme that breaks down carbohydrates, and lipase, an enzyme that breaks down fats.

Salivation plays an important role in taste perception. When food is chewed, saliva is mixed with the food, releasing flavor compounds that can be tasted. Saliva also helps to maintain the pH balance of the oral cavity and helps to protect teeth from decay.

Salivation is a normal, everyday process that helps to ensure proper digestion and taste perception. It is regulated by the autonomic nervous system and can be affected by a range of psychological and environmental factors. Understanding how salivation works can help to improve oral health and nutrition.


Ludlow, J. B., & Miller, J. (2015). Salivary Glands. In Encyclopedia of the Human Body (pp. 135-136). Elsevier.

Mandel, I. D. (1982). Saliva: Its Secretion, Composition, and Functions. CRC Press.

Rajendran, R., & Sivapathasundaram, B. (2009). Oral Anatomy, Histology and Embryology (3rd ed.). Elsevier Health Sciences.

Tortora, G. J., & Derrickson, B. (2009). Principles of Anatomy and Physiology (12th ed.). John Wiley & Sons.

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