Sputem, less formally saliva and more coloquially spit is a digestive fluid produced by the salivary glands surrounding the mouth. Sputem aids with chewing and contains several digestive enzymes that start the breakdown of food into usable chemicals. One of the main enzymes in sputem converts starch into sugars.
Normal sputem should be white and frothy, with no trace of color or blood. Green or yellow in the sputem usually indicates an infection in the lungs or bronchial passages. Blood in the sputem usually requires a good look for sources of bleeding, but is often the result of gum disease. Lack of sputem, or dry mouth, is often a result of dehydration, but can indicate an underlying condition. Excess sputem, or drooling, is often the sign of an underlying neurological disorder, but can also indicate difficulty swallowing.
Like blood, a culture can be taken from a sputem sample as many infections start in the mouth or spread there once a patient is infected. However, it is normal for some bacteria to be in the mouth, although the most common bacteria is the primary cause of dental caries, the most common disease in the world. However, dry mouth can often lead to even worse dental problems as there are chemicals in sputem that also help fight tooth decay.
Sputem is often consumed with food and requires the patient to drink fluids to replenish it during a meal, particularly where the meal is very low in water content, such as bread or crackers.