NaCl and sugar release, salivation and taste during mastication of salted chewing gum

Physiol Behav. 2003 Sep;79(4-5):731-7. doi: 10.1016/s0031-9384(03)00187-2.


Salt perception impacts on food acceptability and nutrition and depends upon salt release from foods that was determined in situ during mastication of chewing gum with up to 10% (1800 mmol/kg) added NaCl. The mechanical action of chewing increased salivation, which was further increased by the presence of salt, particularly above 180 mmol NaCl/kg gum or above 100 mM NaCl in saliva. The average resting salivary flow rate was 1 ml/min, increasing to 4 and 6 ml/min with gums containing low and high salt, respectively. Thus, stimulation of salivation by salt occurred at a concentration well above the taste threshold of 20 mM NaCl. NaCl concentration in nonstimulated saliva was about 10 mM and increased to 500 mM after 30 s chewing of the 10% NaCl gum and returned to near nonstimulated levels after 4 min chewing. Changes in pH of saliva were more gradual, increasing to a maximum at about 2 min and remaining elevated after 4 min. Salty taste was related to the free chloride ion concentration in saliva irrespective of the initial salt concentration in the gum with an indication of adaptation after 3 min chewing. During chewing, salty taste increased ahead of the increase in salivary conductivity and the salt concentration in the sublingual saliva varied in a cyclic fashion about every 20 s. This is consistent with a cyclic swallowing of saliva and replacement with newly secreted saliva of low salt content and mastication releasing further salt from the gum.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chewing Gum / analysis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mastication / physiology*
  • Rheology
  • Saliva / chemistry
  • Saliva / metabolism*
  • Salivation / drug effects
  • Salivation / physiology*
  • Secretory Rate
  • Sensory Thresholds / physiology*
  • Sodium Chloride / chemistry
  • Sodium Chloride / pharmacology
  • Sweetening Agents / chemistry
  • Sweetening Agents / pharmacology
  • Taste / drug effects
  • Taste / physiology*


  • Chewing Gum
  • Sweetening Agents
  • Sodium Chloride