Chewing gum increases salivary flow rate (SFR), pH, enamel remineralization and reduces caries. The effects of five different flavors of chewing gum were tested on healthy people to determine whether the results varied. The results were tested at 1, 3, and 6 minutes after the start of chewing. Effects are known to decline with loss of gum flavor and with softening of the chewing gum.
The flavors included spearmint, strawberry, apple, watermelon and cinnamon. Fifteen people were tested and each one received all 5 of the flavors. They were not allowed to swallow, but, collected their own saliva. The increased pH of saliva after chewing gum is due to an increase in bicarbonate concentration, which is due to increased SFR.
The SFR on testing reached a maximum at 1 minute, except for spearmint which did not reach a maximum until 6 minutes after the start. Strawberry-flavored gum showed the highest SFR at 1 minute. Strawberry- and apple-flavored gums showed the highest SFR at the 1-3 minute interval. Those would be advised for low salivation disorders (such as dry mouth). Cinnamon- and spearmint-flavored gums were the only flavors to raise the salivary pH significantly. Those would be advised for treatment of dental caries.
CONCLUSION: Different flavors of chewing gum can be used to treat different conditions: Cinnamon and spearmint for caries and fruit flavors for low salivation (hyposalivation).
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