What is the role of Saliva in the Digestion of Food?

What are salivary glands?

The salivary glands are located in front of the ears, under the chin in the floor of the mouth and throughout the palate, mouth and pharynx. The salivary glands are the glands which produce saliva containing salivary Amylase (ptyalin), it keeps the mouth and other parts of the digestive system moist.

The saliva is secreted by three pairs of salivary glands :

Parotid Glands – Located just in front of and beneath each ear,

Submandibular Glands – Lying close to the inner side of the lower jaw on each side,

Sublingual Glands- Below the tongue.

Role of saliva in the digestion of food

  • Saliva lubricates and binds the food so that we can Chew and swallow it easily.
  • Saliva maintains our oral hygiene, it constantly flushes food debris and keeps our mouth relatively clean.
  • Saliva contains enzymes like lysozyme which lyses many bacteria and prevents growth of microbial population in the oral cavity.
  • Salivary amylase (ptyalin)Which is present in saliva initiates the digestion of starch and breaks down into maltose.

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