Saliva, possessed by humans and many other animals, is a watery fluid with a variety of functions. The salivary glands in the cheeks, the bottom of the mouth, and under the jaw are constantly producing this liquid. Saliva maintains oral health, helps to break down food, and prevents the mouth from drying out.
Saliva is approximately 99% water, though mucus, proteins, enzymes, antibacterial compounds, and electrolytes also make up the liquid. These substances are responsible for the various functions of saliva, and the composition is altered when it exits ducts in the mouth. Sodium is reabsorbed, and potassium and bicarbonate ions are secreted. There are as also many as 500 million bacterial cells in each milliliter of saliva. This bacteria is partially responsible for bad breath.
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