Visit our foundation to give a gift.
View Locations Near Me
Main Campus – Hartford
Connecticut Children’s – Waterbury
Urgent Care – Farmington
Specialty Care Center – Danbury
Connecticut Children’s Surgery Center at Farmington
Specialty Care Center – Fairfield
Search All Locations
Find a doctor
Find A Doctor
Request an Appointment
Amenities and Services
Who’s Who on Care Team
Getting Ready for Surgery
What to Expect—Picture Stories
Pay a Bill
Understanding the Different Fees
Pricing Transparency and Estimates
Raytheon Technologies Family Resource Center
Family Advisory Council
Legal Advocacy: Benefits, Education, Housing
Electronic Health Records
Share Your Story
Pay a Bill
Login to MyChart
Clinical Support Services Referrals
About the Network
Join the Network
Graduate Medical Education
Continuing Medical Education
MOC/Practice Quality Improvement
Educating Practices in the Community (EPIC)
Learning & Performance
Meet our Physician Relations Team
Request Medical Records
Join our Referring Provider Advisory Board
View our Physician Callback Standards
Read & Subscribe to Medical News
Register for Email Updates
Update Your Practice Information
Refer a Patient
Find and Print Health Info
Health Information For Kids
Pull a lollipop out of your mouth and you’ll see it. Wake up after drooling on your pillow and you’ll feel it. That’s right, it’s spit, also known as saliva (say: suh-LIE-vuh).
Saliva is a clear liquid that’s made in your mouth 24 hours a day, every day. It’s made up mostly of water, with a few other chemicals. The slippery stuff is produced by the salivary (say: SAL-uh-vair-ee) glands. These glands are found on the inside of each cheek, on the bottom of the mouth, and under the jaw at the very front of the mouth. They secrete (say: sih-KREET), or ooze, about 2 to 4 pints (or about 1 to 2 liters) of spit into your mouth every day!
Spit is super for lots of reasons. Saliva wets food and makes it easier to swallow. Without saliva, a grilled cheese sandwich would be dry and difficult to gulp down. It also helps the tongue by allowing you to taste. A dry tongue can’t tell how things taste — it needs saliva to keep it wet.
Spit helps begin the process of digestion (say: dy-JES-chun), too. Before food hits your stomach, saliva starts to break it down while the food’s still in your mouth. It does this with the help of enzymes (say: EN-zimes), special chemicals found in the saliva. The combination of chewing food and coating it with saliva makes the tongue’s job a bit easier — it can push wet, chewed food toward the throat more easily.
Saliva also cleans the inside of your mouth and rinses your teeth to help keep them clean. (But remember that spit isn’t enough to keep teeth in tip-top shape; you still need to brush and floss!) The enzymes in saliva also help to fight off infections in the mouth.
Most school-age kids have just the right amount of saliva. Sometimes a person may not have enough saliva, but this is usually the result of certain medicines or treatments, some kinds of diseases, or old age.
Without taste buds, life would have less flavor. Find out why in this article for kids.
Slimy! Slippery! Saliva is none other than spit, the clear liquid in your mouth that’s made of water and other chemicals.
Our bodies need water to work properly. Find out more in this article for kids.
Do you need saliva? Find out by doing this tasty experiment.
Why do our ears make earwax? Find out in this article for kids.
Did you ever toss your cookies? That means throw up, or puke. It’s gross, but just about everyone has done it. Find out more in this article for kids.
Everybody sweats. Find out why perspiration happens in this article for kids.
Cavities are small holes in your teeth that need to be filled. Find out what causes tooth decay and how dentists handle it.
Your tongue helps you talk, taste, and digest your food. Chloe and the Nurb take you on a tasteful tour in the Tongue Movie!
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
© 1995-2020 KidsHealth®. All rights reserved.
Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com.