Oral processing and comfort perception of soft cereal foods fortified with pulse proteins in the elderly with different oral health status†
This study investigated the oral processing and bolus formation mechanisms of two soft cereal products fortified with pulse proteins, sponge-cake (FSC) and brioche (FB), in the elderly population, and their relationship with the perception of oral comfort. Twenty subjects aged 65 and over participated in the study. They were classified in two groups according to dental status (poor vs. satisfactory) and presented varying stimulated salivary flow rate (SSF). Bolus properties (hydration ratio, apparent viscosity and particle size) were characterized after three chewing stages. Results showed that subjects with a poor dental status (DS) had a longer chewing duration for FB, while individuals with a higher SSF had a shorter duration for FSC. Compared to FSC, more saliva was added to the FB boli, and the viscosity and particle size of FB bolus were also higher. Based on the bolus particle size evolution during chewing, FB was considered to be more difficult to fragment than FSC, this latter showing a dramatic particle size reduction from the beginning of chewing. From the viscosity data, a model was used to represent the variations of the bolus structure index during chewing and a coefficient of interaction of saliva with food was defined. For both products, the perception of comfort depended more on the DS than on SSF. Bolus apparent viscosity was related to the perception of oral comfort in FSC, while the chewing duration and the bolus particle size at the beginning of chewing contributed to explain oral comfort in FB. Finally, the comparison of these results with those obtained previoulsy with standard (i.e. non enriched) sponge cake and brioche suggested that the proposed protein fortification did not challenge the oral comfort perception by the elderly.