120 Keynote Address: The Role of Saliva in Digestion and Gastro-intestinal Health

Thursday, March 22, 2012: 8 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.
Presentation Type: Oral Session
E. HELMERHORST, Dept. of Periodontology & Oral Biol, Boston University, Boston, MA
Human whole saliva is a fluid mixture produced in the oral cavity comprising exocrine and non-exocrine constituents. The exocrine portion of this fluid is secreted by dedicated glands in the oral cavity. Non-exocrine portions include predominantly bacterial cells, desquamated epithelial cells and gingival crevicular fluid. Whole saliva is in contact with all oral hard and soft tissues. Hence, functional studies on whole saliva have focused primarily on its role in maintaining oral health. The oral cavity however is not an isolated organ. It represents the portal of entry to the entire gastro-intestinal tract. Human whole saliva reaches various sections of the gastro-intestinal tract since all saliva fluid that is released into the oral cavity is also swallowed. This symposium will emphasize particularly the functions of whole saliva pertinent to digestion and gastro-intestinal health.

Keywords: Gastro-intestinal and Saliva
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