Influence of Age and Tooth Loss on Masticatory Muscles Characteristics: A Population Based MR Imaging Study
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Aging is associated with a decline in masticatory muscles mass and performance. The present study aims to examine the differences in the cross-sectional areas of the masseter, medial and lateral pterygoid muscles in relation to age and the present dental status in a population-based magnetic resonance imaging study.
This cross sectional study involved 747 subjects aged between 30-89 years (344 male, 403 female) who underwent both a whole body MRI and a full oral examination. The cross-sectional areas of the masseter, medial and lateral pterygoid muscles were measured from MRI images using the software Osirix. Dental and prosthetic status data from the oral examination were classified according to Eichner index. The method of generalized least squares, also called growth curve model, was used to examine the associations between the cross-sectional areas, age and tooth status.
The cross-sectional area of the lateral pterygoid muscle decreased substantially with age in women but did not depend on age in men. The medial pterygoid muscle depended on age but an effect modification by gender was uncertain. Masseter muscle was weakly associated with age but strongly associated with the number of teeth in both genders.
Our findings suggest that age has a heterogeneous effect on masticatory muscles. This indicates that age related changes to the masticatory muscles are muscle specific and are not consistent between the different muscles.
Key wordsCSA MRI mastication oral rehabilitation prosthodontics tooth loss
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