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Without saliva, we wouldn’t be able to taste food. Our saliva dissolves the chemicals from the food first. Once dissolved, the chemicals can be detected by the receptors on our taste buds.

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Without saliva, we wouldn’t be able to taste food. Our saliva dissolves the chemicals from the food first. Once dissolved, the chemicals can be detected by the receptors on our taste buds.

The largest known living single stem tree in the world is the General Sherman Tree in located in Sequoia National Park. The tree is thought to be between 2,300 to 2,700 years old. It stands at 274.9 feet and base circumference of 102.5 feet. Its branches measure up to 7 feet wide in diameter.
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  1. [https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12002816/](https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12002816/)

    Saliva is the principal fluid component of the external environment of the taste receptor cells and, as such, could play a role in taste sensitivity. Its main role includes transport of taste substances to and protection of the taste receptor. In the initial process of taste perception, saliva acts as a solvent for taste substances; salivary water dissolves taste substances, and the latter diffuse to the taste receptor sites. During this process, some salivary constituents chemically interact with taste substances. For example, salivary buffers (e.g., bicarbonate ions) decrease the concentration of free hydrogen ions (sour taste), and there are some salivary proteins which may bind with bitter taste substances.

    Another effect of saliva on taste transduction is that some salivary constituents can continuously stimulate the taste receptor, resulting in an alteration of taste sensitivity. For example, the taste detection threshold for NaCl is slightly above the salivary sodium concentrations with which the taste receptor is continuously stimulated. In contrast, saliva protects the taste receptor from damage brought about by dryness and bacterial infection, and from disuse atrophy via a decrease in transport of taste stimuli to the receptor sites. This is a long-term effect of saliva that may be related to taste disorders. These various effects of saliva on the taste perception differ depending on the anatomical relationship between the taste buds and oral openings of the ducts of the salivary glands.

    Many taste buds are localized in the trenches of the foliate and circumvallate papillae, where the lingual minor salivary glands (von Ebner’s glands) secrete saliva. Taste buds situated at the surface of the anterior part of the tongue and soft palate are bathed with the mixed saliva secreted mainly by the three major salivary glands.