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The Effect Of Mouth Breathing On Chewing Efficiency

Miho Nagaiwa, Kaori Gunjigake, Kazunori Yamaguchi

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ABSTRACT Objective:  To examine the effect of mouth breathing on chewing efficiency by evaluating masticatory variables. Materials and Methods:  Ten adult nasal breathers with normal occlusion and no temporomandibular dysfunction were selected. Subjects were instructed to bite the chewing gum on the habitual side. While breathing through the mouth and nose, the glucide elution from the chewing gum, number of chewing strokes, duration of chewing, and electromyography (EMG) activity of the masseter muscle were evaluated as variables of masticatory efficiency. Results:  The durations required for the chewing of 30, 60, 90, 120, 180, and 250 strokes were significantly (P < .05) longer while breathing through the mouth. There was no significant difference in the glucide elution rate (%) for each chewing stroke between nose and mouth breathings. The glucide elution rates for 1- and 3-minute chewing were significantly (P < .05) lower while breathing through the mouth. However, there was no significant difference in the glucide elution rate for 5-minute chewing between nose and mouth breathings. While chewing for 1, 3, and 5 minutes, the chewing stroke and EMG activity of the masseter muscle were significantly (P < .05) lower during mouth breathing. Conclusions:  It takes a longer amount of time to complete chewing to obtain higher masticatory efficiency when breathing through the mouth. Therefore, mouth breathing will decrease the masticatory efficiency if the duration of chewing is restricted in everyday life.