The Science Of Spit Is More Amazing — And More Disgusting — Than You Ever Thought

"Mouth juice"

Ah, spit. 

We don't really give our saliva much attention unless it is flying out of our faces or unexplainably absent, leaving us with that horrible cotton mouth feeling. The truth is, our spit is pretty fascinating stuff and is much more complex than the average person gives it credit for, and our lives would be much different without it. 

One of the most important jobs our spit has is helping with the digestion process. Breaking down food doesn't start in the stomach; it starts in the mouth and saliva plays an essential role. Eating food also puts teeth at risk of developing cavities, but spit has our backs on that one as well.


Bacteria in our mouths feed on sugars in our food, producing acids that can harm the enamel on our teeth. Saliva provides a buffer, cutting down on the risk of tooth decay. This also explains why people who create higher rates of saliva have fewer cavities at the dentist, but might experience build up on the teeth near the salivary glands that needs to get scraped off. Hey, you can't have it all.

It's Okay To Be Smart host Joe Hanson breaks down the science of saliva, teaching us more than we ever wanted to know about our "mouth juice," including how many different types we make, what spit is made of, and even why babies drool so much.

Check it out here:

Cover image: Shutterstock


Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest news and exclusive updates.