- Volume 19 Issue 1
It has been suggested that people who suffer from impaired masticatory function may adapt food consistency to their oral status (which may lead to deficient nutrient intake) or rely on the digestive system to compensate for the lack of oral preparation of food (which may increase the likelihood of digestive diseases and decrease gut absorption). Masticatory deficiency thus may be detrimental to health. This article reviews evidence of the effects of masticatory deficiency on nutrition. The selection of relevant literature was based on Medline queries using the following key words: mastication, nutrition, digestion, diet, and disease risk. Earlier work not listed in Medline but related to the subject also was reviewed. Only publications available in English were selected for inclusion. It is difficult to draw conclusions from many of the reviewed studies due to issues related to study design, confounding variables, and the subjective nature of the measurements. In particular, data supporting a link between masticatory function and deficient dietary intake often are based on relatively weak correlations and cannot confer a causal relationship.