Effects of sucking acidic candies on saliva in unilaterally irradiated pharyngeal cancer patients

Oral Oncol. 2006 Mar;42(3):317-22. doi: 10.1016/j.oraloncology.2005.08.009. Epub 2005 Nov 28.


Patients who have received radiation therapy on the head and neck area often use acidic candies to relieve symptoms of dry mouth. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine the erosive potential in relation to teeth of an acidic candy in 10 such patients. The patients sucked the candy while their whole saliva was collected into a closed system at different times: baseline, candy-stimulated, and post-stimulated. The erosive potential of the candy was evaluated from candy-induced changes in saliva degree of saturation with respect to hydroxyapatite (HAp). Previously published normative values were used for comparison. The results showed that saliva became significantly more undersaturated with respect to HAp in irradiated patients, and failed to return to baseline values during the post-stimulatory period, which it normally does in healthy individuals. Thus, prevention of dental breakdown in these patients should involve counseling regarding choice of stimulant for dry mouth relief.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acids / adverse effects*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Candy / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pharyngeal Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Radiotherapy / adverse effects
  • Saliva / chemistry
  • Tooth Erosion / chemically induced*
  • Xerostomia / prevention & control*


  • Acids