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Table of Contents   
ORIGINAL RESEARCH  
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 31  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 921-923
The effect of fennel seeds on pH of saliva – A clinical study


1 Department of Public Health Dentistry, Sri Ramachandra Institute of Higher Education and Research, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Periodontics, Faculty of Dental Sciences, Sri Ramachandra Institute of Higher Education and Research, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

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Date of Submission22-Feb-2019
Date of Decision18-May-2020
Date of Acceptance17-Jun-2020
Date of Web Publication22-Mar-2021
 

   Abstract 


Context: Saliva is an oral fluid that gives a protective effect against dental caries. Chewing of fennel seeds after food is a common culture in the Indian Sub-continent. A review of previous studies on fennel seeds showed that some of them have an anti-microbial efficacy, but there are no extensive data available on the effect of chewing fennel seeds on the pH of saliva. Aim: The aim of the study was to record the baseline pH of saliva and to record the changes in salivary pH after chewing fennel seeds. Setting and Design: The study was carried out in the Department of Public Health Dentistry, Sri Ramachandra University, Chennai, prior to which a pilot study was carried out. Subjects and Methods: Voluntary enrolment of 30 individuals was done. A written and informed consent was obtained from the individuals prior to the study. The pH of the saliva was recorded by placing the standardized salivary strip below the tongue in the oral cavity and colour changes were matched with the pH scale colour chart within about 15 sec. The subjects were asked to chew fennel seeds for 5 min. Salivary pH was measured immediately after chewing (SP2) at 0 min and the experiment was repeated for 5 min (SP3), 10 min (SP4), 15 min (SP5) and 30 min (SP6). Statistical Analysis: The data was gathered and analysed using paired t test. Results: There was an increase in salivary pH from baseline (SP1) to 0 min (SP2) was found to be highly significant (P = 0.000). The mean salivary pH reduced to 7.64 ± 0.06, 5 min after chewing the seeds (SP3) and the drop in pH was found to be highly significant (P = 0.000). The subsequent drop in pH from 10 min (SP4), 7.50 ± 0.05 to 15 min (SP4), 7.38 ± 0.05 to 30 min (SP4), 7.24 ± 0.05 were found to be highly significant as well (P = 0.000). Conclusion: Chewing of fennel seeds increases the pH of saliva, thus making it a suitable anti-cariogenic agent.

Keywords: Anti- cariogenic, fennel seeds, salivary pH

How to cite this article:
Manohar R, Ganesh A, Abbyramy N, Abinaya R, Balaji S K, Priya S B. The effect of fennel seeds on pH of saliva – A clinical study. Indian J Dent Res 2020;31:921-3

How to cite this URL:
Manohar R, Ganesh A, Abbyramy N, Abinaya R, Balaji S K, Priya S B. The effect of fennel seeds on pH of saliva – A clinical study. Indian J Dent Res [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Apr 15];31:921-3. Available from: https://www.ijdr.in/text.asp?2020/31/6/921/311647



   Introduction Top


Dental caries is the most prevalent dental disease affecting the human race.[1] It is a multi-factorial infectious disease,[2] with saliva as one of the significant contributing factors. Saliva is a complex body fluid that provides a general protective function for exposed oral hard tissues.[3] Saliva gives a protective effect against dental caries. Any decrease in saliva contributes to dental caries formation. If the salivary pH is <5.5 (critical pH of dental enamel) then the mineral contents of dental enamel tend to dissolve. Therefore, using the salivary pH to discuss dental caries is important.[4] Consumption of food, changes the salivary pH, which can either be acidic or basic.[5] This change in pH can result in the initiation or prevention of dental caries. Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) belongs to Apiaceae (umbelliferae) family. In India, these seeds are traditionally used for chewing alone or with betel leaves or mixed with sugar or even commercially available sugar-coated sachets and are investigated for its therapeutic purposes.[6],[7] Fennel seeds are also known to have anti-cancerous, anti-hirsutism, anti-inflammatory, anti- oxidant, anti-platelet, anti-thrombotic and anti-spasmodic properties.[8]

The review of previous studies on fennel seeds showed that some of them have anti-microbial efficacy, but there are no extensive data available on the effect of chewing fennel seeds on the pH of saliva. Thus, we conducted a study to evaluate the effect of fennel seeds on the salivary PH.


   Subjects and Methods Top


An experimental study was conducted in the Department of Public Health Dentistry, Sri Ramachandra University, Chennai. The ethical approval for the study was obtained from Sri Ramachandra University Institutional Ethics Committee (CSP/15/JUL/42/14). Convenience sampling was done and a sample size of 30 individuals who walked into the dental clinic during the clinical hours for a period of 5 days was considered for the study. The voluntary enrolment of individuals was done. The individuals were explained about the study and informed consent was obtained from them. A pilot study was conducted on 5 individuals prior to this study. Male and female individuals above the age of 18 years who were completely dentate were included in the study. Subjects undergoing topical fluoride therapy, other chemotherapeutic procedures, antibiotics and drugs having the effect upon the salivary function or salivary pH were excluded from the study. Also, those suffering from any systemic diseases/taking any medication that affects salivary secretion, individuals suffering from any condition, which is contraindicated for clinical examination, individuals who refrain from fennel seeds due to allergic or personal reasons and individuals who are not willing to participate were excluded from the study.

Data collection

Following a pilot testing on 5 subjects, the main study was carried out on 30 subjects who were selected based on eligibility criteria. All subjects were requested to follow their regular diet and to prevent major variations in diet prior to the study. The subjects were asked to refrain from eating or drinking 2 h prior to the test. The resting pH was measured to record the Baseline salivary pH (SP1) before chewing seeds. The pH of the saliva was recorded by placing the strip below the tongue in the oral cavity. The standardized salivary pH strips 'Qualigens Indikrom Paper Strips' (Thermo Fisher Scientific India Pvt. Ltd) with 'Full Range' pH 1.0–14.0 and pH 6.5–9.0 were used for recording salivary pH and were matched with the pH scale collared chart. The colour changes were matched with the pH scale colour chart within about 15 sec. The subjects were asked to chew a known standardized quantity (1.3 grams) of fennel seeds for 5 min. Salivary pH was measured immediately after chewing (SP2) at 0 min using the same methodology. The experiment was repeated for 5 min (SP3), 10 min (SP4), 15 min (SP5) and 30 min (SP6).

Statistical analysis

The data was gathered and was tabulated into Microsoft Excel Sheet and then was statistically analysed with Modified Software IBM SPSS 20.0 for Windows. Mean and Standard Deviation were calculated using descriptive statistics. Then, Paired t-test was done to compare the effect of the intervention among the study subjects. Statistical significance was assessed at a 95% level of significance.


   Results Top


The mean baseline salivary pH (SP1) was 6.68 ± 0.06, which increased to 7.94 ± 0.05, 0 min after chewing the seeds. This increase in salivary pH from baseline (SP1) to 0 min (SP2) was found to be highly significant (P = 0.000). The mean salivary pH reduced to 7.64 ± 0.06, 5 mins after chewing the seeds (SP3) and the drop in pH was found to be highly significant (P = 0.000). The subsequent drop in pH from 10 min (SP4), 7.50 ± 0.05 to 15 min (SP4), 7.38 ± 0.05 to 30 min (SP4), 7.24 ± 0.05 were found to be highly significant.

[Figure 1] represents the baseline pH values of samples before chewing fennel seeds, [Figure 2] represents average effects of fennel seeds on pH of saliva, and [Table 1] represents the mean salivary pH before chewing the seeds (Baseline salivary pH) and after chewing the seeds at 0 min, 5 min, 10 min, 15 min and 30 min.
Figure 1: Baseline pH values of saliva before intervention

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Table 1: Salivary pH scores before and after chewing the fennel seeds analyzed using paired t-test

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Figure 2: Mean pH levels of saliva after intervention over time

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   Discussion Top


In India, fennel seeds are routinely chewed upon after meals to aid in digestion after a rich meal while acting as an herbal mouth freshener. Fennel seeds are composed of Anethol and Fenchone.[5] Anethol basically aids in inhibition in spasm of smooth muscle such as in the gastrointestinal tract. Fenchone on the other hand, is accountable for medicinal properties. In our concern, Anethol stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system causing an increase in acetylcholine secretion leading to the stimulation of serous acini cells, which increases the salivary flow rate. It also has anti-microbial properties against bacteria.

In the present study, the mean salivary pH at baseline was 6.68 ± 0.06. In a similar study conducted by Ajithkrishnan et al.[5] the mean pH at baseline was 6.88 ± 0.55. In another study, conducted by Shirahatti et al.,[7] the mean salivary pH at baseline was 6.8 ± 0.65. The mean salivary pH after chewing fennel seeds was 7.94 ± 0.05 and a similar study conducted by Ajithkrishnan et al.[5] reported a pH of 7.45 ± 0.30. The above comparison shows that there is an increase in salivary pH from baseline value to immediately after chewing the fennel seeds. But, in a study conducted by Shirahatti et al.,[7] the mean salivary pH decreased after chewing fennel seeds, which was 6.61 ± 0.24 and is contradictory to our study results. Our study results reported that salivary pH value after chewing fennel seeds at 5 min was 7.64 ± 0.06 and Ajithkrishnan et al.,[5] reported it to be 7.45 ± 0.34 and Shirahatti et al.[7] found it to be 7.18 ± 0.26.

To the best of our knowledge, no studies have evaluated the mean salivary pH after chewing above 10 min. Our study evaluated the pH up to 30 min, and there was a subsequent drop in pH from 7.50 ± 0.05 at 10 min to 7.38 ± 0.05 at 15 min to 7.24 ± 0.05 at 30 min. However, chewing fennel seeds did prevent the fall of pH below the critical pH for enamel demineralization. This indicates that the chances of salivary pH declining below critical pH after consumption of a cariogenic diet are reduced by chewing of fennel seeds and fennel can be effective protectiveagainst dental caries following a meal.


   Conclusion Top


Fennel seeds significantly increased the pH following from baseline and over a period of 30 min it significantly reduced but not below the baseline. Hence, it can be used as an effective agent to buffer the salivary pH following a meal or cariogenic sugar exposure.

Declaration of patient consent

The authors certify that they have obtained all appropriate patient consent forms. In the form the patient(s) has/have given his/her/their consent for his/her/their images and other clinical information to be reported in the journal. The patients understand that their names and initials will not be published and due efforts will be made to conceal their identity, but anonymity cannot be guaranteed.

Financial support and sponsorship

Self Funded.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
   References Top

1.
Gopinath VK, Arzreanne AR. Saliva as a diagnostic tool for assessment of dental caries. Arch Orofac Sci 2006;1:57-9.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Lenander-Lumikari M, Loimaranta V. Saliva and dental caries. Adv Dent Res 2000;14:40-7.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Leone CW, Oppenheim FG. Physical and chemical aspects of saliva as indicators of risk for dental caries in humans. J Dent Educ 2001;65:1054-62.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Tanabe M, Takahashi T, Shimoyama K, Toyoshima Y, Ueno T. Effects of rehydration and food consumption on salivary flow, pH and buffering capacity in young adult volunteers during ergometer exercise. J Int Soc Sport Nutr 2013;10:49.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Ajithkrishnan CG, Thanveer K, Singh RP. An in-vivo evaluation of the effect of fennel seeds chewing on salivary pH. J Oral Health Comm Dent 2014;8:79-81.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Anwar F, Ali M, Hussain AI, Shahid M. Antioxidant and antimicrobial activities of essential oil and extracts of fennel (Foeniculumvulgare Mill.) seeds from Pakistan. Flavour Fragr J 2009;24:170-6.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Shirahatti RV, Ankola AV, Nagesh L. Effect of fennel seeds on dental plaque and salivary pH-A clinical study. J Oral Health Comm Dent 2010;4:38-41.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Swaminathan A, Sridhara SRC, Sinha S, Nagarajan S, Balaguru UM, Siamwala JH, et al. Nitrites derived from Foneiculum Vulgare (Fennel) seeds promotes vascular functions. J Food Sci 2012;77:273-9.  Back to cited text no. 8
    

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Correspondence Address:
Dr. Rajkumar Manohar
No: 88-Hig, 4th Main Road, Mogappair West, Nolambur, Chennai - 600 037, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijdr.IJDR_185_19

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    Abstract
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   Subjects and Methods
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