Salivary flow rate and pH during prolonged gum chewing in humans

J Oral Rehabil. 2003 Sep;30(9):861-5. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2842.2003.01177.x.


Gum chewing for 20 min causes an increase in salivary flow rate and salivary pH. Most people chew gum for longer than 20 min, and our aim was to determine how whole mouth salivary flow rate and pH might adapt during prolonged gum chewing. Resting saliva was collected over 5 min; gum-stimulated saliva was collected at intervals during 90 min, chewing a single pellet (1.5 g) of mint-flavoured, sugar-free gum (n = 19). Subjects chewed at their own preferred rate and style. Both salivary flow rate and pH were increased above resting levels for the entire 90 min. The salivary flow was significantly greater (anovaP < 0.05) than resting flows up to 55-min chewing. The saliva pH remained significantly higher (P < 0.0001) than the resting pH even after 90-min chewing. When the experiment was repeated with the gum pellets replaced at 30 and 60 min (n = 9), similar increases in salivary flow rate and pH were found. In the latter experiment, there was no evidence of any cumulative effects on flow or pH. The persistent increase in salivary pH in particular could be beneficial to oral and dental health.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Chewing Gum / analysis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Male
  • Mastication / physiology*
  • Saliva / metabolism*
  • Saliva / physiology
  • Salivation / physiology
  • Secretory Rate


  • Chewing Gum