• mastication;
  • food;
  • saliva;
  • flow rate;
  • swallow

We determined the salivary flow rate in 16 healthy subjects in rest and while chewing artificial and natural foods (Parafilm, Melba toast with and without margarine, and three different volumes of breakfast cake and cheese). We also determined the duration of a chewing cycle, the number of chewing cycles until swallowing, and the time until swallowing. The physical characteristics of the foods were quantified from force-deformation experiments. The flow rates of the saliva as obtained without stimulation, with Parafilm stimulation, and with chewing on the various foods were significantly correlated. An increase in chewing cycle duration, number of chewing cycles until swallowing, and time until swallowing was observed as a function of the volume of the food. More chewing cycles were required for Melba toast than for an equal volume of cake or cheese. This may be caused by the low water and fat percentage of the Melba toast. The number of chewing cycles and the time until swallowing significantly decreased when the Melba toast was buttered. The decrease may be caused by facilitation in bolus formation and lubrication of the food due to buttering the toast. The number of chewing cycles until swallowing was not correlated to the salivary flow rate.