Human mastication

  • G. SlavicekEmail author


Human mastication is a complex biomechanical process. Many different structures, tissues and functional units are involved. The great variability observable in the procedures of crushing and lubricating food constrains the clear distinction between physiologic and pathophysiologic chewing pattern. Diagnostic procedures on masticatory performance are still lacking clear definitions and classifications. The use of individual chewing performance data in restorative dental procedures is not yet established. The purpose of this article is to provide an overview on human mastication. Interdisciplinary teamwork is frequently quoted. Patients are claimed to represent the center of all activities. Mastication is essential for proper nutrition. The link between chewing ability and nutrition is evident. Nevertheless, deficiencies in nutrition, especially in elderly, even in nursed situation, are reported in the scientific literature not only on the base of few cases; a systemic nonconformity, involving all health care providers, may be assumed. The transfer within this article illustrated facts into daily routine should be encouraged.


Human mastication Standard food model Mandibular movement Condylography Biomechanics Temporo-mandibular joint Chewing Swallowing Food size Elastic food properties Plastic food properties Chewing muscle activity EMG Nutrition Systemic disease Tooth loss 


  1. Alajbeg IZ. Influence of occlusal stabilization splint on the asymmetric activity of masticatory muscles in patent with temporomandibular dysfunction. Coll Antropol 2003;27(1):361–71PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Blaum CS, et al. Factors associated with low body mass index and weight loss in nursing home residents. J Gerontol Biol Sci 1995;50(3):162–8Google Scholar
  3. Bender AE, Davies L. Milk consumption in the elderly. Geriat Pract 1968;5:331Google Scholar
  4. Buzzard M. 24-hour dietary recall and food record methods. In: Nutritional epidemiology. New York: Oxford University Press; 1998Google Scholar
  5. Catic A, Naeije M. Location of the hinge axis and the kinematic center in asymptomatic and clicking temporo mandibular joints. J Oral Rehab 1999;26:661–55CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Colombo V, Palla S, Gallo LM. Temporomandibular joint loading patterns related to joint morphology: a theoretical study. Cells Tissues Organs 2008;187:295–306CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Cox BD, et al. Seasonal consumption of salad vegetables and fresh fruit in relation to the development of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Pub Health Nutr 2000;3:19–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dellow PG, Lund JP. Evidence for central timing of rhythmical mastication. J Physiol 1971;215:1–13PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Dienel M. Ein neu entdeckter Schutzfaktor vor Alzheimer – Demenz: Zahlreiche noch erhaltene Zähne – die Neuburger Demenzstudie. Euro J Ger 2006;8(3):166–70Google Scholar
  10. Engelen L, et al. A comparison of the effects of added saliva, á-amylase and water on texture perception in semisolids. Physiol Behav 2003;78:805–11CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Engelen L, et al. The influence of product and oral characteristics on swallowing. Arch Oral Biol 2005;50:739–46CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Felicio CM, et al. Masticatory behavior in individuals with temporomandibular disorders. Minerva Stom 2002;51(4):111–20Google Scholar
  13. Felicio CM, et al. Masticatory performance in adults related to temporo-mandibular disorder and dental occlusion. Pró-Fono Revista de Atualização Cientifica 2007;19:151–8PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Fontijn-Tekamp FA, et al. Swallowing threshold and masticatory performance in dentate adults. Physiol Behav 2004;83:431–6CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Foster KD, et al. Effect of texture of plastic and elastic model foods on the parameters of mastication. J Neurophys 2006;95:3469–79CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Garrett N, et al. Veterans Administration Cooperative Dental Implant Study: Comparisons between fixed partial dentures supported by blade-vent implants and removable partial dentures. Part V: Comparisons of pretreatment and post treatment dietary intakes. J Prosthet Dent 1997;77:153–60CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Gavião MBD, et al. Chewing behavior and salivary secretion. Eur J Oral Sci 2004;112:19–24CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Gavião MBD, et al. Salivary secretion and chewing stimulatory effects from artificial and natural foods. J Appl Oral Sci 2004;12:159–63CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Geissler CA, Bates JF. The nutritional effects of tooth loss. Am J Clin Nutr 1984;39:478–89PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Gibbs CH, et al. Chewing movements in relation to border movements at the first molar. J Prosth Dent 1981;46(3):308–21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gibbs CH, et al. Occlusal forces during chewing – Influences of biting strength and food consistency. J Prosth Dent 1981;46(5):561–7CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Gibbs CH, et al. Comparison of typical chewing patterns in normal children and adults. JADA 1982;105:33–42PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Hajian M. In-vivo-Bisskraft: Vergleich zwischen konventionellem und implantatgestütztem Zahnersatz. Dissertation; Julius Maximilian Universität, Würzburg, 2004Google Scholar
  24. Habib H, et al. Fetal Jaw Movement affects condylar cartilage development. J Dent Res 2005;84(5):474–9CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Hamada MO, et al. A randomized clinical trial comparing the efficacy of mandibular implant-supported overdentures and conventional dentures in diabetic patients. Part IV: Comparisons of dietary intake. J Prosthet Dent 2001;85:53–60CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Hasegawa Y. Influence of human jaw movement on cerebral blood flow. J Dent Res 2007;86(1):64–8CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Huddleston Slater JJR, et al. The intra-articular distance within the TMJ during free and loaded closing movements. J Dent Res 1999;78(12):1815–20CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Hunter D. Biochemical indicators of dietary intake. In: Nutritional epidemiology. New York: Oxford University Press; 1998Google Scholar
  29. Hutchings JB, Lillford PJ. The perception of food texture the philosophy of the breakdown path. J Texture Stud 1988;19:103–15CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Jacobs R, van Steenberghe D. From osseoperception to implant-mediated sensory-motor interactions and related clinical implications. J Oral Rehabil 2006;33:282–92CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Joshipura KJ, et al. The impact of edentulousness on food and nutrient intake. J Am Dent Assoc 1996;127:459–67PubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Joshipura KJ, et al. Possible explanations for the tooth loss and cardiovascular relationship. Ann Periodontol 1998;3:175–83PubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Joshipura KJ, et al. Fruit and vegetable intake in relation to risk of ischemic stroke. J Am Med Assoc 1999;82:1233–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Joshipura K, et al. Strength of evidence linking oral conditions and systemic disease. Compendium 2000;21:12–23Google Scholar
  35. Julien KC, et al. Normal masticatory performance in young adults and children. Arch Oral Biol 1996;41:69–75CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Kawamura Y. Recent concepts of physiology of mastication. Adv Oral Biol 1964;1:77–109PubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Kawamura Y. Neurophaysiologic bachground of occlusion. Periodontics 1967;5:175–1183Google Scholar
  38. Kay CN, et al. A cinephotographic study of the role of the canine in limiting lateral jaw movement in Macaca fasciularis. J Dent Res 1986;65(11):1300–2PubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. Klineberg I, Murray G. Osseoperception: Sensory Function and Proprioception. Adv Dent Res 1999;13:120–9CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. Kobayashi Y. Masticatory path pattern during mastication of chewing gum with regard to gender difference. J Prosth Res 2009;53:11–4CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Kohyama K, et al. Characterization of food physical properties by the mastication parameters measured by electromyography of the jaw-closing muscles and mandibular kinematics in young adults. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 2008;72(7):1690–5CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Kubota K. Nuclear medical pet study in the causal relationship between mastication and brain function in human evolutionary and developmental process. Ann Anat 185:565–9Google Scholar
  43. Levine MJ, et al. Artificial salivas: present and future. J Dent Res 1987;66:693–8PubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Lazzari V, et al. Mosaic Convergence of Rodent Dentitions. Plos One 2008;3(10):e3607CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. Lassauzay C, et al. Variability of the masticatory process during chewing of elastic model foods. Eur J Oral Sci 2000;108:484–92CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. Lee MM. Dietary fat and breast cancer. Ann Rev Nutr 2000;20:221–48CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Lund JP. Mastication and its control by the brain stem (Review). Crit Rev Oral Biol Med 1991;2(1):33–64PubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. Mackie DA, Pangborn RM. Mastication and its influence on human salivary flow and alpha – amylase secretion. Physiol Behav 1990;47:593–5CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  49. Magoun HW, et al. Corticofugal pathways for mastication, lapping and other motor functions in the cat. Archs Neuro Psych 1933;30:292–308Google Scholar
  50. Mäkila E. Effects The part played by the dentition in the utilization of trace nutrients in food. Suom Hammaslaak Toim 1965;61:122–1133Google Scholar
  51. Mäkila E. Effects of complete dentures on the dietary habits and serum thiamine, riboflavin and ascorbic acid levels in edentulous persons. Suom Hammaslaak Toim 1968;64:107–52Google Scholar
  52. Mäkila E. Protein consumption and the intake of essential amino acids, niacin and calcium before and after wearing complete dentures. Suom Hammaslaak Toim 1969;65:125–33PubMedGoogle Scholar
  53. Michelotti A, et al. Effect of occlusal interference on habitual activity of human masseter. J Dent Res 2005;84(7):644–8CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  54. Michels KB, et al. Prospective study of fruit and vegetable consumption and incidence of colon and rectal cancers. J Nat Cance Inst 2000;92:1740–52CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Miyawaki S, et al. Effect of food size on the movement of the mandibular first molars and condyles during deliberate unilateral mastication in humans. J Dent Res 2000;79:1525–31CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  56. Miyawaki S, et al. Movement of the lateral and medial poles of the working condyle during mastication in patients with unilateral posterior cross bite. Am J Orth Dentfac Orthop 2004;126(5):549–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Momose I, et al. Effect of mastication on regional cerebral blood flow in humans examined by positron emission tomography with 15O-labelled water and magnetic resonance imaging. Arch Oral Biol 1997;42:57–61CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  58. Naeije M, Hofman N. Biomechanics of the human temporomandibular joint during chewing. J Dent Res 2003;82:528–31CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  59. Nishigawa K, et al. Study of jaw movement and masticatory muscle activity during unilateral chewing with and without balancing side molar contacts. J Oral Rehab 1997;24(9):691–6CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Okayasu I, et al. New animal model for studying mastication in oral motor disorders. J Dent Res 2003;82(4):318–21CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  61. Onozuka M, et al. Mapping brain region activity during chewing: a functional magnetic resonance imaging study. J Dent Res 2002;81:743–6CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  62. Onozuka M, et al. Age related changes in brain regional activity during chewing: a functional magnetic resonance imaging study. J Dent Res 2003;81:743–6Google Scholar
  63. Orthlieb JD, Slavicek R. Geometrische Interpretation der Spee Kurve. Stomatologie 1985;82:1–18Google Scholar
  64. Palla S, et al. Jaw tracking and temporomandibular joint animation. In: McNeill C (ed) Science and practice of occlusion. Chicago: Quintessence Publishing Co.; 1998. pp. 365–78Google Scholar
  65. Patchell FC, Shine R. Feeding Mechanisms in Pygopodid Lizards: How can Lialis swallow such large prey? J Herpetology 1986;20(1):59–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Pereira LJ, et al. Mastication and swallowing: influence of fluid addition to foods. J Appl Oral Sci 2007;15(1):55–60PubMedGoogle Scholar
  67. Peyron MA, Lassauzay C, Woda A. Effects of increased hardness on jaw movement and muscle activity during chewing of visco – elastic model foods. Exp Brain Res 2002;142:41–51CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  68. Peyron M-A, et al. Influence of Age on adaptability of human mastication. J Neurophys 2004;92:773–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Pizzol K. Influência da masticação unilateral no desenvolvimento da assimetria facial. R Uniara 2004;15:215–22Google Scholar
  70. Prinz JF, Lucas PW. Swallow thresholds in humans. Arch Oral Biol 1995;40:401–3CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  71. Prinz JF, Lucas PW. An optimization model for mastication and swallowing in mammals. Proc R Soc Lond 1997;264:1715–21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Pröschel P, et al. Untersuchung zur Interpretation des Bewegungsverhaltens kondylärer Punkte. DZZ 1993;48:323–6Google Scholar
  73. Pröschel PA, Raum J. Task-dependence of jaw elevator and depressor co-activation. J Dent Res 2003;82(8):617–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Pröschel PA, Morneburg T. Task-dependence of activity/bite force relations and its impact on estimation of chewing force from EMG. J Dent Res 2002;81(7):464–8CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Ritchie CS, et al. Nutrition as a mediator in the relation between oral and systemic disease: associations between specific measures of adult oral health and nutrition outcomes. Crit Rev Oral Biol Med 2002;13(3):291–300CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  76. Rioch JM. The neural mechanism of mastication. Am J Physiol 1934;108:168–76Google Scholar
  77. Ropert-Coudert Y, et al. Monitoring jaw movements: a cue to feeding activity. Game Wildlife Science 2004;20(4):1–19Google Scholar
  78. Sasaguri K, et al. Involvement of chewing in memory processes in humans: an approach using fMRI. International Congress Series 2004;1270:111–6CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Sato S, et al. Validity and reliability of a newly developed method for evaluating masticatory function using discriminant analysis. J Oral Rehab 2003;30(2):146–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Schneider G, Sender B. Clinical relevance of a simple fragmentation model to evaluate human masticatory performance. J Oral Rehab 2002;29:731–6CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Siéssere S, et al. Electromyographic activity of masticatory muscles in women with osteoporosis. Braz Dent J 2009;20(3):237–42CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  82. Sherrington CS. Further observation on the production of reflex stepping by combination of reflex excitation with reflex inhibition. J Physiol 1913;108:168–76Google Scholar
  83. Sherrington CS. Reflexes elicitable in the cat from pinna, vibrissae and jaw. J Physiol 1917;51:404–31PubMedGoogle Scholar
  84. Shinagawa H, et al. Chewing-side preference is involved in differential cortical activation patterns during tongue movements after bilateral gum-chewing: a functional magnetic resonance imaging study. J Dent Res 2004;83:762–6CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  85. Slavicek G, et al. A novel standard food model to analyze the individual parameters of human mastication. IJSOM 2009;2(4):163–74Google Scholar
  86. Slavicek G, et al. Fallstudien zur Analyse des Kauens Teil 1: die Standardanalyse. Stomatologie 2009;106:119–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Slavicek G, et al. Fallstudien zur Analyse des Kauens Teil 2: spezielle Analysemöglichkeiten. Stomatologie 2009;106:137–48CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Slavicek G, et al. Fallstudien zur Analyse des Kauens Teil 3: Analyse von Höckerbewegungen. Stomatologie 2010;107:3–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Smith-Warner SA, et al. Types of dietary fat and breast cancer: a pooled analysis of cohort studies. Int J Cancer 2001;92:767–74CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  90. Souza D, et al. Caracteristicas mastigatórias em portadores de disfunção temporomandibular-estudo comparative. R Soc Bras Fonoaduiol 2005;10(3):155–60Google Scholar
  91. Tamura T, et al. Functional magnetic resonance imaging of jaw movements. J Oral Rehabil 2003;30:614–22CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  92. Tartaglia GM, et al. Masticatory muscle activity during maximum voluntary clench in different research diagnostic criteria for temporo mandibular disorders (RDC/TMD) groups. Manual Ther 2008;13:434–40CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  93. Terry P, et al. Fruit, vegetables, dietary fiber, and risk of colorectal cancer. J Nat Cance Inst 2001;93:525–33CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  94. Van Der Bilt A, Van Der Glas HW, Bosman F. A computer simulation of the influence of selection and breakage of food on the chewing efficiency o human mastication. J Dent Res 1992;71:458–65PubMedGoogle Scholar
  95. Wall CE, Smith KK. Ingestion in Mammals. Enc Life Sci 2001;1:1–6Google Scholar
  96. Watanabe S, Dawes C. The effects of different foods and concentration of citric acid on the flow rate of whole saliva in man. Arch Oral Biol 1988;33:1–5CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  97. Weijs WA, et al. The functional significance of the position of the centre of rotation for jaw opening and closing in the rabbit. J Anat 1989;162:133–48PubMedGoogle Scholar
  98. Willett WC. Diet and health: what should we eat? Science 1994;264:532–7CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  99. Woda A, et al. Adaptation of healthy mastication to factors pertaining to the individual or to the food. Physiol Behav 2006;89:28–35CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  100. Yashiro K, et al. Smoothness of human jaw movement during chewing. J Dent Res 1999;78:1662–968CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  101. Zhiying Y, et al. Tooth loss, systemic inflammation, and prevalent stroke among participants in the reasons of geographic and racial difference in stroke [REGARDS] study. Atherosclerosis 2009;203(2):615–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  102. Zhang X, et al. Relative risk of dietary components and colorectal cancer. Eur J Med Res 2000;5:451–4PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Steinbeis Transfer Institut Biotechnology in Interdisciplinary Dentistry der Steinbeis Hochschule BerlinStuttgartGermany

Personalised recommendations