The digestive system turns the food you eat into parts it can use for energy and nutrients. It uses chemical and mechanical processes to break down food. The mechanical component involves chewing, which masticates food between the tongue and teeth. The chemical component involves saliva, gastric acid, and digestive enzymes. After the food's nutrients have been absorbed, the resulting waste product gets expelled.
We mentioned that saliva is one of the crucial fluids that help to break down food. Did you know that there are between 800 and 1000 minor salivary glands? This number is on top of the three main pairs of salivary glands in the mouth. Saliva does not just digest food. It also plays a crucial role in the maintenance of dental health. One of the reasons it's important to brush your teeth before bed is our mouths don't produce as much saliva at night. This makes your teeth more vulnerable to cavities, as any bacteria left over from dinner have time to cause havoc.