Here we provide a comprehensive review of the knowledge base of soft tribology, the study of friction, lubrication, and wear on deformable surfaces, with consideration for its application toward oral tribology and food lubrication. Studies on “soft‐tribology” have emerged to provide knowledge and tools to predict oral behavior and assess the performance of foods and beverages. We have shown that there is a comprehensive set of fundamental literature, mainly based on soft contacts in the Mini‐traction machine with rolling ball on disk configuration, which provides a baseline for interpreting tribological data from complex food systems. Tribology‐sensory relationships do currently exist. However, they are restricted to the specific formulations and tribological configuration utilized, and cannot usually be applied more broadly. With a careful and rigorous formulation/experimental design, we envisage tribological tools to provide insights into the sensory perception of foods in combination with other in vitro technique such as rheology, particle sizing or characterization of surface interactions. This can only occur with the use of well characterized tribopairs and equipment; a careful characterization of simpler model foods before considering complex food products; the incorporation of saliva in tribological studies; the removal of confounding factors from the sensory study and a global approach that considers all regimes of lubrication.
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