The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







For the band, see Saliva (band).

In animals, saliva is produced in and secreted from the salivary glands. It is a fluid containing:

see also digestive system

A common misconception is that saliva contained in the mouth has natural disinfectants, which leads people to believe it is beneficial to "lick their wounds". Researchers at the University of Florida at Gainesville have discovered a protein called Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) in the saliva of mice. Wounds doused with NGF healed twice as fast as untreated, unlicked wounds. So in a few species, at least, saliva does have some curative powers. NGF has not been found in human saliva, but researchers do note that human spit contains such antibacterial agents as secretory IgA, lactoferrin, and lactoperoxidase . It has however not yet been shown that licking your wounds actually disinfects them.

Saliva is also known as spit. To spit or the action of spitting is also to expel saliva or other substances from the mouth. A verb for this action is to expectorate.

See also

Last updated: 08-16-2005 12:49:30