Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science


Health and Rehabilitation Sciences


Dr. Ruth Martin


Saliva is crucial for the maintenance of oral health. Individuals with reduced salivary flow may experience a distortion in taste, difficulty swallowing, and impaired articulation of speech. Research has shown that tooth brushing increases whole salivary flow rates in older adults. It is important to determine whether this increase results from the modulation of parotid gland salivary flow, submandibular and sublingual gland salivary flow, or both. Saliva produced from the parotid gland aids in digestive processes, while saliva secreted from the submandibular and sublingual glands promotes protection of the oral cavity. A within-subjects methodology was used to examine the effects of tooth brushing on gland-specific salivary flow rates in healthy young and older adults. Tooth brushing was associated with increased salivary flow from both the parotid and submandibular and sublingual glands in young and older adults. Tooth brushing may hold potential as a therapeutic approach to increasing salivary flow rates.