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Caries Res. 1999;33(2):123-9.

Human salivary sugar clearance after sugar rinses and intake of foodstuffs.

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Oral Sciences, University of Glasgow Dental Hospital and School, Glasgow, Scotland, UK.


The aetiology of dental caries is in part related to the retention time of dietary carbohydrates in the oral cavity and their subsequent metabolism by the oral bacteria. Salivary clearance of fermentable carbohydrates from three different foodstuffs was examined in 5 subjects and analyses performed by high-performance anion-exchange chromatography with pulsed amperometric detection. The clearance of glucose, fructose, sucrose, maltose and sorbitol rinses was studied as well as that of chocolate bars, white bread and bananas. Of the sugar rinses studied, sucrose was removed from saliva most rapidly whilst appreciable levels of sorbitol remained even after 1 h. Clearance of residual carbohydrates from bananas and chocolate bars seemed marginally faster than in the case of bread, but sucrose levels still tended to fall more quickly than other carbohydrates studied. Surprisingly, carbohydrate residues from the three foods studied were still present in the mouth even 1 h after ingestion, which is longer than has hitherto been reported.

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