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J Texture Stud. 2019 Mar 13. doi: 10.1111/jtxs.12400. [Epub ahead of print]

Preliminary exploration for evaluating acuity of oral texture perception.

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Division of Aging and Geriatric Dentistry, Department of Oral Function and Morphology, Tohoku University Graduate School of Dentistry, Sendai, Japan.


Despite the important role of oral texture perception in feeding and nutritional homeostasis, its impairment has not been of particular clinical interest, and no clinical protocol is available to evaluate its acuity. This preliminary study aimed to establish a method to evaluate the acuity of oral texture perception. Because texture perception is regarded as reflecting integrity of the sensorimotor system of the jaw and mouth, we hypothesized that the ability to perceive various aspects of food texture would correlate with each other, and tested our hypothesis in 11 healthy adults. First, we prepared three types of test foods with different dominant textures, each of which comprised a series of stimuli with different ingredient concentrations; we used these test foods in discrimination tests involving pairwise comparison. Tests performed using the up-down staircase method revealed significant correlation among the discrimination thresholds for three test foods, suggesting that acuities of texture perception correlated with each other across different textural attributes. Second, we examined the associations between the acuity of texture perception and some aspects of mechanical sensation of the tongue: tactile and two-point discrimination thresholds, as well as the graininess recognition threshold. The acuity of texture perception of the subjects whose sensitivity was low for at least one of these aspects of mechanical sensation (n = 5) was significantly lower than that exhibited by the other subjects (Wilcoxon rank-sum test, p = 0.0417). We concluded that oral texture perception ability can be evaluated by discrimination tests for specific aspects of texture, using appropriate test foods.


(semi) solid food; clinical examination; oral tactile sensation; oral texture perception


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