Are maximum bite forces of subjects 7 to 17 years of age related to malocclusion?
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OBJECTIVE: To determine the effects of occlusion on maximum bite force of growing subjects. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Incisor and first molar bite force of children and adolescents was evaluated. Four cohorts were measured annually for 3 years, starting at approximately 7, 9, 12, and 15 years of age, respectively. The initial sample included 182 females and 198 males; there were 130 subjects with normal occlusion, 111 with Class I malocclusion, and 139 with Class II malocclusion. Multilevel analyses were performed to model the growth changes and compare groups. RESULTS: Maximum bite force increased significantly (P < .05) over time. Incisal forces peaked at 14.3 and 15.3 years of age for females and males, respectively. Maximum molar bite force peaked at 16 years for both males and females. Subjects with normal occlusion had significantly higher bite force than subjects with malocclusion. Maximum molar bite force exhibited a significant testing effect, with forces increasing 2.6 kg each year that the tests were repeated. CONCLUSIONS: Malocclusion has a detrimental effect on bite force. Changes in maximum bite force are also due to age, sex, and repeated testing.