Does malocclusion affect masticatory performance? Academic Article uri icon


  • This purpose of this study was to evaluate the largely untested assumption that malocclusion negatively affects masticatory performance. A sample of 185 untreated subjects (48% male and 52% female) from 7 to 37 years of age, representing subjects with normal occlusion (n = 38), Class I (n = 56), Class II (n = 45), and Class III (n = 46) malocclusion, were evaluated. Masticatory performance was evaluated objectively using artificial (CutterSil, median particle size and broadness of the distribution) and real foods (number of chews for jerky and almonds), and subjectively using a visual analog scale. The results showed no significant differences in age or the body mass index (Wt/Ht2) between the occlusion groups. Subjects with normal occlusion had significantly smaller particle sizes (P = .001) and broader particle distributions (P < .001) than subjects with malocclusion. Compared with the normal occlusion group, the median particle sizes for the Class I, II, and III malocclusion groups were approximately 9%, 15%, and 34% larger, respectively. There were also significant group differences in their subjective ability to chew fresh carrots or celery (P = .019) and firm meat (P = .003). Class III subjects reported the greatest difficulty, followed by Class II subjects, Class I subjects, and subjects with normal occlusion, respectively. We conclude that malocclusion negatively affects subjects' ability to process and break down foods.

published proceedings

  • Angle Orthod

altmetric score

  • 4

author list (cited authors)

  • English, J. D., Buschang, P. H., & Throckmorton, G. S.

citation count

  • 168

complete list of authors

  • English, Jeryl D||Buschang, PH||Throckmorton, GS

publication date

  • February 2002