“The production of a sufficient amount of saliva is indispensable for good chewing. In the present study, we examined the hypothesis that adding fluid to a food will facilitate the chewing process, especially for dry foods. The effect might be larger for subjects with relatively low salivary flow rates. Furthermore, adding fluids that contain mucins or alpha-amylase may have a larger facilitating effect on mastication than the addition of water alone. Twenty subjects chewed on melba toast, breakfast cake, carrot, peanut, and Gouda cheese. In addition, they chewed on these foods after different volumes of water, artificial saliva containing mucins, or a solution of alpha-amylase had been added. Muscle activity and number of chewing strokes until swallowing were measured. The salivary flow rates of the subjects were also determined. Adding fluid to the food significantly reduced the number of chewing cycles and total muscular work (i.e. the integrated surface electromyograpy of masseter and temporalis muscles measured bilaterally, summed for all chewing cycles) until swallowing for all foods, except carrot. The largest effects were observed for melba and cake, which are dry products requiring sufficient saliva to form a coherent bolus safe for swallowing. More facilitation of the chewing process was observed after adding fluid to breakfast cake for subjects with relatively low salivary flow rates. The type of fluid had no significant effect on the chewing process.”
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