2020 Volume 8 Issue 2


Human Identification Through Gum-A New Vision In Forensic Odontology

Arushi Chawla1*, Dhwani Patel2, Ashwini Pandit3

1 Assistant Professor (Forensic Science and Forensic Odontology), Institute of Applied Sciences, Parul University, Vadodara, Gujarat.

2Assistant Professor (Forensic Odontology), Institute of Forensic Science, Gujarat Forensic Sciences University, Gandhinagar.

3 Assistant Professor (MBA-Hospital & Healthcare Management), Institute of Management & Training, Gujarat Forensic Sciences University, Gandhinagar.





Aim: The study aims to bring about a change in the conventional and tedious methods used during the investigation of the suspect or victim, for identification and introduce a material which can be used, by forensic investigators to the police officers worldwide with ease.

Objective: To use gum as a make-shift impression material to overcome the drawbacks of the conventionally used dental materials and assess its feasibility in forensic odontology.

Materials and Method: The technique used requires minimum instrumentation like commercially available chewing gum and a solution that was prepared in the lab along with a camera to capture the images recorded.

Result: The technique used could record the dental anatomy and the non-metric traits which would be helpful in the process of identification. The technique also proved to be helpful in the recording of tongue prints.

Conclusion: To use chewing gum for recording the morphologic details present on the tooth surface and ease the process.

Key words: chewing gum, impression, forensic, odontology.





The presence of periodontal diseases is considered as a significant cause affecting the oral hygiene negatively 1. Dental implant acts as the common dental procedure that is usually undertaken during the cases of jaw or mouth Injuries 2. The benefits of the chewing gum are known to the layman as to increase the power of concentration in humans, a sudden grant of sugars in the metabolic system3. The chewing gum can decrease the pH if it contains citric acid or via bacterial production of acids if the gum contains sugars. The average rate of salivary flow in a completely healthy individual is 0.3-0.4 mL/min4. The chewing of an unflavored gum increases the salivary flow by 10-12 times when compared to non-stimulated rate5. As the chewing gum increases the rate of salivary flow it also assists in the clearance of acid in the esophagus and hence helps in reducing the gastroesophageal reflux conditions.6,7 and laryngopharyngeal reflux conditions8. Chewing is also known to treat xerostomia in those with residual secretory capacity9

The non-metric traits are the structural variations of individual crown and root which can be individually scored10. The tooth consists of three distinct layers; the enamel which covers the crown, the root cementum on the root surface, and an inner layer of dentin in the crown and the root 11. When using conventional dental materials, the recording of non-metric dental traits becomes difficult. These non-metric.

traits play a very important role in the process of identification. There have been cases where chewing has proved to be a piece of important evidence at the crime scene. The technique to be used can make the process of investigation and record conveniently to be used by dentists and forensic officers. The dental materials used in conventional dentistry are technique sensitive, expensive, and can cause infections due to cross-contamination. This technique promotes ease of use, inexpensive, and has the least chances of infection by cross-contamination. The materials used in the study are commercially available and also fall in the economical norms. This technique has proved to be useful in cases of severe malocclusion, allergies to some dental products, in case of any oral pathology.

Materials and Method

The materials used in the study are easily available in the market and are economical to be used.

The materials used are

  1. A commercially available gum of any brand
  2. A solution containing salivary amylase (for the study the solution was made in the laboratory)
  3. Gloves
  1. A digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera
  2. A box (for storage)



The subject was informed verbally about the technique to be performed to reduce dental anxiety. A commercially available gum was used and manipulated using a solution containing saliva substitute. The manipulation was done for 4 to 5 minutes and was heated slightly. In the meanwhile, the area to be recorded was cleaned. As the impression mix was bought down to room temperature, the impression material was placed in the mouth when a rubbery consistency was achieved. Blowing in would allow the gum to be dried and then the impression was removed from the mouth. A photograph of the impression was taken to record and preserve the trace shreds of evidence.

Figure 1: Demonstrates the subject with severe malocclusion

Figure 2: Demonstrates the impression when placed in the oral cavity for

Figure 3: Demonstrates the impression taken with labially placed teeth

The following method was used in different cases as mentioned below

  1. Malocclusion
  2. Rugoscopy
  3. Dental anthropology
  4. Tongue prints
  5. Periodontal conditions



Various other impressions were taken using gum and solutions. Various non-metric traits like Talon’s cusp, Cusp of Carabelli, Cuspal indentation. Figures 4, 5, and 6 demonstrate the result respectively. In cases of severe malocclusion, spacing, the method has proved to record the areas that are not easily accessible by conventional dental techniques as seen in figure 7 a/b and 8. To study the rugae patterns, the palatal rugae were easily recorded by this technique which is demonstrated in figure 9. The tongue prints that are unique for every individual can also be recorded using this technique as shown in figure 10. The technique has been advantageous when used in cases of xerostomia as the solution used increases the salivary secretion. In case of severe gagging the technique to use proved to be useful as based on the Gagging Problem Assessment- Revised (GPA-R).

Figure 4: Talon’s Cusp

Figure 5: Molar cusps

Figure 6: Canine Indentation

Figure 7a: Impression of severe

Figure 7b: Severe malocclusion

Figure 8: Spacing Seen The Lateral Incisor And Canine.

Figure 9: Rugae Patterns


Figure 10: Tongue Prints


The advantages of the gumming technique are that it is economical and pocket friendly. The technique has a conservative approach and the wastage of the material can be avoided. The technique requires no specialization and is user-friendly when compared to other dental materials like alginate12,13. The patient is psychologically satisfied with an easier way of recording the anatomy as the use of more instruments and materials are known to affect the mental health of some patients14. The record-keeping becomes easier and casts can be poured using polyvinyl if a permanent record is required3. The material shows negligible shrinkage with naked eyes when compared to other dental products where the casts are to be poured immediately15.

The technique is easy to use in case of an oral pathology like a fibroma on the tongue or in cases of painful ulcerations. Recording anatomy with this technique is easier in patients with xerostomia5. This technique can be used in cases of mobility (grade 1). Immense infection control is not required in this technique when compared to dental materials 15. The drawbacks of the technique are that the chewing gum becomes sticky on removal and there are high chances of swallowing the gum when taking impressions. The technique cannot be used in edentulous patients16. The forensic implication of the technique including the above-mentioned advantages are that impressions can be recorded immediately and the loss of trace shreds of evidence can be prevented. The technique can also be used in cases of sexual assault when the suspect’s dentition is to be compared to the bitemark present on the victim.


This technique is an attempt to ease the tedious process of criminal investigation and introduce new material to overcome the drawbacks of the materials used in conventional dentistry. This technique can help to record the offender’s dentition with ease and fast-track the sexual assault cases in various countries of the world where the cases are delayed due to a lack of resources and a high crime rate. The technique shall prove to be useful when in remote areas or where the dental materials or a forensic odontologist is not readily available. Hence chewing gum is probably a kind of food material that shall prove to provide excellent results when recording the morphological features of the dentition and also provide additional information about the same.



  1. Hamed MT, Mously HA, Alamoudi SK, Almubarak SA, Naguib GH. Determining the Correlation between Oral Hygiene and Periodontal Conditions around Different Types of Restorations Using Radio-graphic Evaluation. Int. J. Pharm. Res. Allied Sci. 2019 Jul 1;8(3):184-192.
  2. Hamed MT, Mously HA. Investigating Economic and Clinical Implications of Tooth Implant Supported Prosthesis among Patients and Practitioners. Int. J. Pharm. Res. Allied Sci. 2019, 8(4):116-121.
  3. Nambiar P, Carson G, Taylor JA, Brown KA. Identification from bitemark in a wad of chewing gum. J Forensic Odonstomatol 2001; 19(1).
  4. Dawes C, Pedersen AM, Villa A, et al. The functions of human saliva: A review sponsored by the World Workshop on Oral Medicine VI. Arch Oral Biol 2015;60(6):863-7
  5. Dawes C, Macpherson LM. Effects of nine different chewing gums and lozenges on salivary flow rate and pH. Caries Res 1992;26(3):176-82.
  6. von Schonfeld J, Hector M, Evans DF, Wingate DL. Oesophageal acid and salivary secretion: is chewing gum a treatment option for gastro-oesophageal reflux? Digestion 1997;58(2):111-4.
  7. Moazzez R, Bartlett D, Anggiansah A. The effect of chewing sugar-free gum on gastro-esophageal reflux. Journal of dental research 2005;84(11):1062-65.
  8. Smoak BR, Koufman JA. Effects of gum chewing on pharyngeal and esophageal pH. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol 2001;110(12):1117-9.
  9. Furness S, Worthington HV, Bryan G, Birchenough S, McMillan R. Interventions for the management of dry mouth: topical therapies. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2011(12): CD008934.
  10. Anahit Yu. KhudaverdyanNon-metric dental trait in human skeletal remains from Transcaucasian populations: phylogenetic and diachronic evidence. Anthropological Review, 2014; 77(2): 151–174.
  11. Ranganath A, Nasim I. An evidence-based decision analysis approach on tooth discoloration. J. Adv. Pharm. Educ. Res. 2017;7(3):259-262.
  12. Benson BW, Cottone JA, Bomberg TJ, Sperber ND.Bitemark impressions: a review of techniques and materials. J Forensic Sci, 1988; 33.
  13. Rubel BS. Impression materials: A comparative review of impression materials mostly used in restorative dentistry. Dent Clin North Am. 2007;51:629–42.
  14. William Ayer, Psychology and Dentistry: Mental Health Aspects of Patient Care Routledge 2012
  15. V Vidyashree Nandini, K Vijay Venkatesh,1 and K Chandrasekharan Nair Alginate impressions: A practical perspective. J Conserv Dent. 2008 Jan-Mar; 11(1): 37–41.
  16. Ratnaweera PM, Yoshida K, Miura H, Kohta A, Tsuchihira K. A clinical evaluation of agar alginate combined impression: Dimensional accuracy of dies with a new master crown technique. J Anusavice KJ, Kenneth J. Phillips' science of dental materials. 11th ed. Elsevier; 2003. pp. 210–30.


Corresponding Author


Dr. Arushi Chawla

Assistant Professor, Department of Forensic Science, PIAS, Parul University

Email: arushi.chawla82130 @ paruluniversity.ac.in


Issue 4 Volume 9 - 2021
Call for Papers