J Korean Dysphagia Soc.  2013 Jul;3(2):43-57.

Teeth, Malocclusion and Disordered Mastication: Evaluation and Treatment

  • 1Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Kyungpook National University Hospital, Kyungpook National University School of Medicine, Daegu, Korea


Masticatory function is related to the complex function of oral cavity. Mastication, saliva, and taste are functional part of the preparation of food. Mastication is a sensory-motor activity aimed at the preparation of food for swallowing. It is a complex process involving activities of the facial, the elevator and suprahyoidal muscles, and the tongue. These activities result in patterns of rhythmic mandibular movements, food manipulation and the crushing of food between the teeth. Saliva facilitates mastication, moistens the food particles, makes a bolus, and assists swallowing. The movement of the jaw, and thus the neuromuscular control of chewing, plays an important role in the comminution of the food. Characteristics of the food, e.g. water and fat percentage and hardness, are known to influence the masticatory process. Food hardness is sensed during mastication and affects masticatory force, jaw muscle activity, and mandibular jaw movements. When we chew for instance a crispy food, the jaw decelerates and accelerates as a result of resistance and breakage of food particles. To understand the physiology of oral cavity, the anatomy and physiology of the teeth, masticatory muscle, temporomandibular joint, tongue, taste and saliva secretion will be discussed.


Oral physiology; Mastication; Saliva; Taste; Temporomandibular joint
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