Salivary clearance of sugar and its effects on pH changes by Streptococcus mitior in an artificial mouth

J Dent Res. 1984 Nov;63(11):1266-70. doi: 10.1177/00220345840630110201.


We recently developed a computer model of oral sugar clearance (Dawes, 1983), and an artificial mouth has now been constructed which will allow variation in the salivary parameters identified in the model and the study of their effects on bacterial acid production. Using a thin layer of S. mitior, strain 572, over a miniature Sb electrode to measure bacterial pH changes during sugar clearance from the "mouth", we found that three consecutive sets of "Stephan curves" could be obtained with the same bacteria during one day. In each of several experimental series, one salivary parameter was varied, while other parameters were held constant. The maximum pH decrease and the surface area of the registered Stephan curve (delta pH.min) were used as measures of acid production. The results indicate that the volume of "saliva" in the mouth before and after swallowing, the unstimulated salivary flow rate, and the buffer capacity had significant influences on the extent of the pH changes. Other factors, such as the maximum flow rate, the delay between start of stimulation and maximum flow, the volume of saliva in the mouth at time zero, and the taste threshold for sugar, were of lesser importance, confirming some predictions from the computer model.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Buffers
  • Dental Plaque / microbiology
  • Equipment Design
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Models, Biological*
  • Mouth*
  • Saliva / metabolism*
  • Saliva / physiology
  • Secretory Rate
  • Streptococcus / physiology*
  • Sucrose / metabolism*


  • Buffers
  • Sucrose