It's always funny—if a little gross—when you see a friend launch a spot of spittle across the room as they chat on the phone. But new research suggests that frequent cell phone users actually slobber more, making those discharges all the more common.
The study, carried out at the Vidhya Shikshan Prasark Mandal's Dental College and Research Centre, India, sought to establish if the parotid glands are different amongst heavy cell phone users. The parotid glands, as you might have guessed, are the saliva-producing system in your jaw.
The team took 142 participants and separated them into heavy cell phone users and a control group. Then they got down to the serious work: measuring unstimulated parotid salivary flow rate, and also imaging the glands using ultrasound.
The results speak for themselves. Heavy cell phone users have larger parotid glands, with higher levels of blood flow. Not just that: they produce, and secrete, 26 percent more saliva on the side of the face where they typically hold their mobile phone, compared to the control group.
It's worth pointing out that this study only notes a correlation between saliva production and phone usage. As it stands, the researchers speculate that electromagnetic radiation from mobile devices could stimulate the growth of the glands and their subsequent saliva production—but further tests are needed to establish if that's actually the case.
In the meantime, you might want to think twice before borrowing your talkative friend's phone. [Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology and Oral Radiology]
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