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Physiol Behav. 2006 Aug 30;89(1):28-35. Epub 2006 Apr 3.

Adaptation of healthy mastication to factors pertaining to the individual or to the food.

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DIDO, Dental Faculty, University of Auvergne, 11 bd Charles-de-Gaulle, 63000 Clermont-Ferrand, France.


Mastication is a physiological process controlled by the central nervous system and modulated by inputs from the mouth. Both the intrinsic characteristics of the subject and the extrinsic characteristics of the chewed food are responsible for variations of the masticatory function. Age, gender and dental state constitute the most studied intrinsic factors whereas hardness, rheological characteristics such as plasticity or elasticity, and food size are the better known extrinsic factors. These factors cause physiological adaptations which can occur during individual cycles or the whole sequence of mastication. Electromyographic and jaw movements (kinematic) recordings are commonly used to study mastication, from which, several variables can be measured. Vertical and lateral amplitudes and, velocities of jaw movements, are only given by kinematic recordings. Bioelectrical activities per cycle or per sequence are closely linked to masticatory forces and are measured from electromyographic recordings. Number of cycles, sequence duration and masticatory frequency can be measured from both types of recordings. The objective of this review is to provide an overview of the variations of the measured masticatory variables that occur when mastication adapts to changes in characteristics of the individual or the food.

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