Secretion of saliva

Saliva can be considered as an ultrafiltrate of plasma. This fact has allowed the use of saliva as a medium for the diagnostic testing of levels of ethanol, drugs of abuse and other substances.

Afferent input to stimulate secretion may arise from chemoreceptors in taste buds on the tongue, mechanoreceptors in periodontal ligament, and the sight and smell of food.

The efferent pathway involves the auriculotemporal nerve, which conveys parasympathetic fibres via the otic ganglion to the parotid gland, and the chorda tympani nerve, which supplies the submandibular and sublingual glands.

Salivary function studies

A fil

Sialometry: salivary flow rate;

Salivary gland biopsy, usually of labial minor salivary glands; Contrast sialography;

Salivary scintigraphy with radiolabelled isotopes, e.g. technetium radionuclides.

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