Dry Mouth pp 175-194 | Cite as

The Beneficial Effects of Regular Chewing



Saliva stimulation relieves dry mouth symptoms for those who have functioning salivary glands. Chewing gum and lozenges are the two major forms of saliva stimuli for dry mouth patients. Their mechanism of action is a combination of two oral stimuli, that is, taste and mastication. Taste stimulation provides an acute increase of saliva and thus instant relief, whereas masticatory stimulation is long lasting, keeping the relief prolonged. Comparative studies suggest that chewing gum, lozenges, and also artificial saliva work equally effectively against self-perceived dry mouth symptoms. Individual conditions as well as etiology influence the effect of these products and thus the preference for use. Patients’ preference is an important factor for improving long-term compliance. Acid-free and sugar-free products should be recommended in order to maximize the saliva’s protective properties for the dentition. In addition to stimulated saliva, unstimulated (resting) saliva is also of importance in the management of dry mouth because it functions for maintenance of oral lubrication and is present in the oral cavity for a much longer period than stimulated saliva. Unstimulated salivary flow is influenced by an individual’s masticatory functions, particularly by bite force. Maintaining good functional occlusal areas and jaw-closing muscle strength is critical for keeping an adequate bite force level, especially in the elderly. The working hypothesis is that mastication, saliva, and oral health are interdependent factors to maintain oral functions that are compromised when the mouth is dry. Good oral hygiene practice, in addition to regular exercise of the muscles of mastications, is important for maintaining the unstimulated salivary flow rate and therefore preventing dry mouth.


Oral Health Salivary Flow Artificial Saliva Salivary Secretion Salivary Flow Rate 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of R & DWm. Wrigley Jr. CompanyChicagoUSA

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