Saliva and dental caries

Adv Dent Res. 2000 Dec;14:40-7. doi: 10.1177/08959374000140010601.


Caries is a unique multifactorial infectious disease. Our understanding of etiological factors, the progress of the disease, and the effectiveness of prophylactic procedures have led us to believe that we understand the disease. However, we still have too few answers to many questions: "Why can we not predict who will get the disease?" "Why do we not become immunized?" "How much saliva is enough?" or "Which salivary components are protective?" and "Which salivary components predispose for caries?" It is generally accepted, however, that saliva secretion and salivary components secreted in saliva are important for dental health. The final result, "caries to be or not to be", is a complex phenomenon involving internal defense factors, such as saliva, tooth surface morphology, general health, and nutritional and hormonal status, and a number of external factors-for example, diet, the microbial flora colonizing the teeth, oral hygiene, and fluoride availability. In this article, our aim is to focus on the effects of saliva and salivary constituents on cariogenic bacteria and the subsequent development of dental caries.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Bacterial Adhesion / physiology
  • Bacterial Proteins / physiology
  • Bicarbonates / pharmacology
  • Buffers
  • Dental Caries / etiology*
  • Dental Caries / microbiology
  • Dental Caries Susceptibility / physiology
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Phosphates / physiology
  • Saliva / chemistry
  • Saliva / immunology
  • Saliva / metabolism
  • Saliva / physiology*
  • Salivary Proteins and Peptides / physiology
  • Secretory Rate


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Bicarbonates
  • Buffers
  • Phosphates
  • Salivary Proteins and Peptides