Title: Development and validation of a Taste Sensitivity Test in a group of healthy children
Abstract: Aim This was to validate a taste test on healthy school children. A cross-sectional study was designed to perform a standardised clinical evaluation of the gustatory sensitivity.
Materials and Method Forty (18 males and 22 females) children were selected. Inclusion criteria were age between 5 and 12 years, absence of systemic disease and no antibiotic treatment in the last six months. The taste assessment tests were performed following a standardised protocol, repeated at two different intervals: a) tested at time 0; b) tested after 20-30 days. Tests were performed using a pipette with the sample solution: sucrose, sodium chloride, citric acid and quinine hydrochloride at different concentrations. The examiner reported in a grid the flavour perceived by the subject. A placebo (tap water) was administered in between the flavours.
Results The majority of the subjects detected the bitter taste at the lowest concentration (mean=1.83). The sour taste was detected with the second concentration (mean=2.56). The sweet solution was detected with the most diluted concentration (mean=1.56). The salty taste has a threshold of 2 (mean=2.04), which means that the majority of subjects detected the salty solution with the second concentration. Regarding the perceived intensity, it increases with the increasing concentrations and it reaches maximum values that are inversely proportional to the threshold, corresponding to the second concentration. Moreover, no statistically significant gender differences were detected regarding the threshold values or the perceived intensity.
Conclusion The proposed test allows for a controlled, reliable and standardised evaluation of the gustatory modality.