Association between occlusal curvature and masticatory movements with different test foods in human young adults with permanent dentitions

Archives of Oral Biology
Volume 58, Issue 6 , Pages 674-680, June 2013



Occlusal curvatures such as the curve of Spee, curve of Wilson and Monsons's sphere exist in the human adult mandibular arch. A previous study showed that human young adults with flatter occlusal curvatures had higher ability of food comminution and mixing. The aim of this study was to clarify functional significance of occlusal curvatures in terms of masticatory movements. This study investigated the association between occlusal curvature and mandibular movements while chewing a variety of food items.


Forty-six young adults with complete dentitions (mean age, 25.0 years) participated in the study. Sphere radius of occlusal curvature was determined by a three-dimensional analysis of the mandibular arch based on the Broadrick flag method. Mandibular movements during unilateral chewing of six test food items (chewing gum, cheese, kamaboko, boiled beef, gummy jelly and raw carrot) until the subjects felt ready to swallow were recorded using a six-degrees-of-freedom mandibular movement recording system, and 11 parameters for masticatory movements of a lower incisal point of the mandible were analysed.


Linear regression analyses identified the sphere radius as a significant predictor for closing velocity in all test food items, occluding/cycle duration in 3 items, opening velocity, closing duration and chewing time in 2 items, and opening duration in 1 item (P<0.01). The results suggest that subjects with larger sphere radius (flatter occlusal curvature) in the mandibular arch could prepare food bolus effectively for swallowing.


Occlusal curvature seems to be associated with masticatory movements in young adults with permanent dentition.


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