Certain studies are tongue in cheek. This certain study is interested in the fluids between the tongue and cheek. Mouthwatering science abounds in the article, “New Techniques for Augmenting Saliva Collection: Bacon Rules and Lozenge Drools.”
Hoping to find a method that increases the rate mouth fluids can be collected, researchers had volunteers’ saliva analyzed on three different days under three different conditions:
On the basal day, participants provided 5 saliva samples. Saliva sampling began at a target time of 9:45AM, and the 4 subsequent samples were collected 15-minute intervals thereafter…On the lozenge day, participants returned to the laboratory and were administered one lozenge 25 minutes before sample collection, ensuring enough time for the lozenge to dissolve… On the bacon day, bacon was prepared via microwave 5 minutes before the participants arrived to allow the aroma to permeate the laboratory. Bacon was placed in front of the participants for 5 minutes before expectoration began at a target time of 9:45 AM, and a second sample was commenced 15 minutes after the first sample began.
The researchers generated the spitting image of a graph.
Both lozenge and the aroma of bacon significantly increase saliva flow and decrease saliva collection time. Many psychological and endocrinologic studies can use either of these 2 techniques for augmenting saliva collection.
The authors admit that having readily available cooked bacon smell may be tricky to obtain. Since other smells may also help increase saliva flow, the authors make a suggestion for future research:
Because viewing pictures of food is already a common method used in salivary research, perhaps examining the utility of scratch-and-sniff pictures might reveal saliva flow rate benefits to this aroma-based method.
The full citation: “New Techniques for Augmenting Saliva Collection: Bacon Rules and Lozenge Drools,” Jeremy C. Perez, Jacob L. Rouquette, Olga Miočević, Melissa C. Warner, Paul D. Slowey, Elizabeth A. Shirtcliff. Clinical Therapeutics, vol. 37(3), 2017, pp 515-522.`
Bonus: Bacon has been shown to have other medical uses. The 2014 Ig Nobel Medicine Prize was awarded for treating “uncontrollable” nosebleeds, using the method of nasal-packing-with-strips-of-cured-pork.