Investigations of the saliva of the nursling deserve attention from both the scientific and the clinical points of view. Saliva is readily obtained for experiment in the pure state, and a knowledge of its properties is valuable in reaching conclusions concerning the digestive fluids in general. The importance of saliva in gastric digestion is greater than has heretofore been assumed.
We have studied the saliva of the nursling under both physiologic and pathologic conditions. Before describing our experiments and conclusions, something should be said of the present knowledge of the subject. The reaction of the saliva of nurslings is normally alkaline to litmus, but nearly neutral in electrometric measurements. Reports in the literature of alterations from hour to hour, and in relation to the requirements of digestion show much discrepancy. In certain more or less pathologic states the reaction becomes acid, including ordinary decomposition in the contents of the mouth