Salivary pH and Taste Sensitivity among Geriatric and Non-Geriatric Patients in a Tertiary Hospital: A Cross Sectional Study
Objective: To evaluate the association of salivary pH and taste sensitivity among geriatric and non-geriatric patients in an otorhinolaryngology - head and neck surgery out-patient clinic.
Design: Cross-Sectional Study
Setting: Tertiary Government Training Hospital
Participants: 40 otorhinolaryngology out-patients
Results: Of the 40 patients aged 24 to 92-years-old (mean age 59.8 years), 21 were geriatric and 19 were non-geriatric. The mean salivary pH was 6.66 (range 5 to 8) and 6.63 (range 5 to 7) for geriatric and non-geriatric groups; the difference in mean salivary pH was not statistically significant (p = .87). The salivary pH in the geriatric group showed a negative correlation with age (r=0.06), while the salivary pH in the non-geriatric group had a positive correlation with age (r=0.14). Overall, increases in age among the non-geriatric group were correlated with increase in salivary pH which were not observed in the geriatric patients. In the geriatric group, among the 4 tastants, the strongest correlation between taste sensitivity and salivary pH was observed for quinine followed by sucrose and NaCl, but no correlation for citric acid. In the non-geriatric group, the strongest correlation between taste sensitivity and salivary pH was observed for NaCl, followed by quinine, citric acid and sucrose.
Conclusion: There was no significant difference between the mean salivary pH of geriatric and non-geriatric patients, and both means were within normal. There was a negative correlation between age and salivary pH in the geriatric group, and a positive correlation in the non-geriatric group. Salivary pH had the strongest correlation with taste sensitivity for quinine and NaCl among geriatric and non-geriatric participants, respectively, but the reasons for, and significance of this cannot be inferred from the present study.
Keywords: salivary pH; taste sensitivity; gustatory function; geriatric
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