How much saliva is enough? 'Normal' function defined

J Am Dent Assoc. 1991 Mar;122(3):63-9. doi: 10.14219/jada.archive.1991.0098.


Saliva is important for the preservation and maintenance of oral health. It is unclear, however, how much saliva is required to maintain normal oral function. Major salivary gland flow rates, objective measurements of oral health, and subjective complaints of oral problems were assessed in different-aged, healthy persons. Results suggest that the comparison of major salivary gland flow rates of an individual with population standards to identify patients susceptible to the effects of salivary dysfunction is unreliable. Changes in salivary function over time are a more meaningful gauge of the impact of saliva on oral health. The clinician should monitor salivary production to identify patients with declining salivary gland output.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parotid Gland / metabolism*
  • Reference Values
  • Saliva / metabolism*
  • Submandibular Gland / metabolism*