When we gob onto a pavement or sport’s field, how many of us ever consider the truly wonderful nature of saliva. Our saliva is 99.5% water, with the other 0.5% comprising electrolytes, mucus, glycoproteins, enzymes, antibacterial compounds such as lysozyme. Various enzymes naturally present in saliva initiate the processes of digestion and begin to breakdown food. Saliva also serves as a lubricant, wetting food and thus permitting swallowing, and also protects the mucosal surfaces of the oral cavity from desiccation. It also bathes and nourishes the oral microbiome (that is the natural bacterial microflora of the mouth).
I hope that the microvideos below give you an idea of the complexity and content of this bodily fluid.
A saliva sample viewed with a DIC Microscope (1000x). I think the large cell is a cell from my immune system. A large nuclues and a cytoplasm that fizzes with activity.
A valley formed by my cheek epithelial cells, and a raft of leucocytes fizzing with antibacterial intent. In the flow, are smaller cells, the various bacteria from my microbiome.
Beneath the ‘sun” an epithelial cell with a visible nucleus, and underneath this is a leucocyte fizzing with antibacterial intent. In the flow, are smaller cells, the various bacteria from my microbiome.