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J Dent Res. 2004 Jul;83(7):578-82.

Particle size distribution of food boluses after mastication of six natural foods.

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Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, Theix, Station de Recherches sur la Viande, Saint-Genès-Champanelle, France.


There is a large variability between and among individuals in the physiology of mastication, but it is not known whether this produces a similar variability in the particle sizes of food boluses at the end of the chewing process. Food boluses obtained just before swallowing were analyzed in ten subjects (aged 36.7 +/- 9.5 yrs) with normal dentition. Food samples of 3 nuts (peanut, almond, pistachio) and 3 vegetables (cauliflower, radish, and carrot) were chewed and expectorated after self-estimated complete mastication. Measurements with sieving and laser diffraction methods indicated that particles were much larger in vegetables than in nuts. Particle size distributions were similar among nuts and among vegetables. Surprisingly, no inter-individual variability was observed in the particle distributions for the 6 foods, although several sequence variables differed markedly. A need for a bolus to be prepared with a precisely determined texture before it can be swallowed may explain the inter-subject variability of the masticatory function.

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