Saliva is of crucial importance to the quality of life and oral health in particular. Saliva is secreted by the different salivary glands and contains a large variety of biomolecules, including proteins, peptides and other substances involved in protecting oral tissue. The most versatile salivary proteins are the mucins. These glycoproteins play a role in many different processes, including protection, defence, food processing and lubrication. In addition, saliva contains complementary antimicrobial proteins that keep the oral microbiome in check in a healthy mouth. The salivary peptide histatin plays an important role in wound healing by inducing cells at the edges of a wound to close the wound by cell migration and cell stretching. The management of saliva secretion is a complex process and includes an interplay between the nervous system, stimulators such as chewing and taste, and inhibitory factors such as stress, pain and (negative) emotions. The importance of saliva to oral health becomes especially clear when saliva production has been chronically inhibited or has ceased entirely, for example, as a result of the adverse effects of polypharmacy, in patients undergoing radiotherapy in the head and neck area or those suffering from Sjögren’s syndrome. Loss of the protective effect of saliva makes teeth more vulnerable to various disorders. Ideally, the general dental practice should pay more attention to patients suffering from dry mouth and related care.