Histatins are histidine-rich peptides present in the saliva of humans and higher primates and have been implicated in the protection of the oral cavity. Histatin 1 is one of the most abundant histatins and recent reports show that it has a stimulating effect on cellular adherence, thereby suggesting a role in maintaining the quality of the epithelial barrier and stimulating mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition. Here we summarize these findings and discuss them in the context of previous reports. The recent findings also provide new insights in the physiological functions of histatin 1, which are discussed here. Furthermore, we put forward a possible role of histatin 1 in various pathologies and its potential function in clinical applications.