n. the alkaline liquid secreted by the salivary glands and the mucous membrane of the mouth. Its principal constituents are water, mucus, buffers, and enzymes (e.g. amylase). The functions of saliva are to keep the mouth moist, to aid swallowing of food, to minimize changes of acidity in the mouth, and to digest starch. See also dry mouth. —salivaryadj.
Subjects: Medicine and Health.