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Arch Oral Biol. 1996 Jul;41(7):655-65.

Measurement and comparison of the residual saliva on various oral mucosal and dentition surfaces in humans.

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Department of Oral Biology and Pathology, State University of New York, Stony Brook 11794-8702, USA.


Using a paper-strip absorption method, the amounts of residual saliva on 20 soft-tissue sites in different regions of the mouths of 20 individuals were surveyed once in the morning after a 12-h fast and again approx. 1-2 h after lunch. After swallowing, saliva at each site was immediately collected on filter-paper strips in a dipstick fashion for 5 s and the volumes were measured electronically with a Periotron micro-moisture meter. A clear pattern of wetness was evident and was almost identical for fasting and postprandial determinations. The hard palate and labial mucosa were covered with the least residual saliva; the floor of the mouth and back of the tongue were the wettest. In the same 20 participants, the amounts of residual saliva on various dentition sites were next measured and, as expected, much higher residual amounts were found in approximal embrasures and occlusal fossae than on adjacent facial or lingual smooth areas. Molars gave higher values than premolar and incisor embrasures. To relate residual saliva dipstick volumes to saliva thickness values, filter-paper strips were applied flat against the same mucosal or dentition surfaces in 10 of the participants, and the volume of the saliva absorbed was measured electronically as before. As the areas of the strips used were known, saliva thicknesses could be calculated. These ranged from 0.01 mm on the hard palate to 0.07 mm on the posterior of the dorsum of the tongue. For the incisor teeth, the calculated residual saliva thickness determined in the same way was about 0.01-0.02 mm. Blotting values plotted against dipstick values for oral sites where blotting could be readily performed showed a linear relation, which could be used as a standard curve to enable the easily done dipstick measurements in microlitres to be converted to saliva thicknesses in millimeters. As blotting could not be done in embrasures and occlusal fossae, this paper-strip absorption method was unsuitable for similar quantification of residual saliva in these sites but was done in another way described elsewhere. Overall, the results indicated that variations in dental morphology, and in the saliva secreted and available to the different oral regions, are the basic factors responsible for the wide variations in residual amounts of saliva seen on the diverse hard- and soft-tissue surfaces of human mouths. Also, finding that the hard palate and inner lips are covered by very thin films of residual saliva suggested that only a small reduction in their quantity would be needed to trigger the dry mouth sensation in hyposalivators.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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