Objectives. The need for an adequate quantity of saliva to maintain oral health has been widely reported. It is not only the quantity that is important, but also how the saliva is distributed once it enters the mouth. Several studies have looked at how saliva is distributed around adult mouths. The aim of this experiment was to describe the distribution of stimulated saliva around the mouth in children. Sample and methods. In order to demonstrate the distribution of saliva around the mouth under stimulated conditions, 25 child subjects were asked to chew a piece of chewing gum containing 1.5 mg erythrosin for 3 min on one side of the mouth. The distribution of dye in the mouth was recorded on standardized charts. Results. In all cases, dye was present ipsilateral to the chewing side. In 13 cases (52%) the dye did not cross the midline and of the remaining 12 children the dye only reached the contralateral canines in four of them (16%). Conclusions. Evidence is presented which suggests that during unilateral chewing in children, saliva is not well distributed around the mouth and has a tendency to stay on the side of the mouth from where it was secreted (P < 0.01).
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