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J Oral Rehabil. 2002 Oct;29(10):956-60.

Evaluation of mastication-induced change in sympatho-vagal balance through spectral analysis of heart rate variability.

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Department of Oral Physiology, Hiroshima University Faculty of Dentistry, Minami-Ku, Japan.


Mastication modulates the autonomic nervous activity of the digestive glands and the heart. The autonomic nervous balance is evaluated with spectral analysis of heart rate variability. In the present study, we investigated the effects of mastication of chewing gum base on heart rate variability to clarify the role of mastication in the sympatho-vagal balance for the regulation of the heart rate. Mastication of a chewing gum base stimulated the salivary secretion and shortened the R-R intervals in the electrocardiogram of healthy young subjects without swallowing of saliva at a fixed rate of respiration. Based on the analysis of heart rate variability, mastication increased the low-frequency band spectral power (LF), and decreased the high-frequency band spectral power (HF). The LF/HF was markedly increased by the mastication. Mastication enhances the sympathetic nervous activity and/or suppresses the parasympathetic nervous activity for the heart. Feeding behaviour with mastication might play a role in the modulation of the autonomic nervous activity.

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