Mobile phone use affects salivary glands

He’s worried because his mouth is dry.

Indian Researchers have announced they have found that emission from handheld mobile phones like heat and radio frequency radiation can cause functional and volumetric changes in the parotid glands. They say that heavy mobile phone users experience a significant increase in the salivary flow rate and volume of parotid glands was observed on the side where mobile phones were frequently held.

Researchers at the Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology at the Vidya Shikshan Prasarak Mandal’s Dental College and Research Centre in Maharashtra measured salivary flow rates in 142 healthy individuals (70 male and 72 female) aged 18 to 30 who had been using handheld mobile phones for at least three years. They were divided into heavy users (50 males and 50 females) and a control group (20 males and 22 females).

The researchers found that two thirds of all participants used their mobile phones for three hours daily on average (seven calls a day), ranging from once in a fortnight for 10 to 15 minutes in the control group to seven hours daily in the heavy-user group. The researchers observed that 70 per cent of all participants predominantly used the right ear for phone use, 26 per cent the left and 4 per cent reported using both ears equally.

Among heavy users, 26 per cent more parotid salivation was measured on the dominant side, while only an 8 per cent greater salivary flow rate on the dominant side was found in controls. Of the total participants, 30 per cent (47 individuals) reported headaches (7), migraines (5), ringing or heating of the ear and skin (35) following mobile phone use. In addition, the researchers discovered that the velocity of blood flow in the external carotid artery within the parotid gland on the dominant side was almost 1.5-fold higher than on the other side in 20 of the 38 participants who agreed to ultrasonography examination.

In May 2011, the World Health Organization and the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans. According to the organisations, wireless phone use is associated with an increased risk of brain and auditory canal tumours. However, the researchers said that, unlike the brain and auditory canal, “parotid glands are without the natural protection of the skull and are at a close proximity to mobile phones when in use and therefore potentially at greater risk of adverse effects from phone use.”The WHO estimates that the number of mobile phone subscriptions is five billion worldwide.” What I would say though, is it is important for people to ensure they are considering how to protect themselves from the harmful radiation phones can give off. This might be removing them from rooms when they’re not being used or by using protective clothing.

The study was published in the August issue of the Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology and Oral Radiology journal.

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  1. Heavy-user group usage up to seven hours a day may well be described as” running off at the mouth”. Obviously, this description fits nicely into the 26 per cent more parotid salivation!


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