Objectives: Few studies have evaluated the relationship between morphological and functional characteristics of the masticatory apparatus in young subjects. Thus, the aim of this study was to evaluate masticatory performance (MP), maximal bite force (BF), orthodontic treatment need and orofacial dysfunction in children and adolescents.
Design: The sample consisted of 316 subjects of both genders, with an age range 6-16years divided into 4 groups: early mixed, intermediate mixed, late mixed and permanent dentition. MP was evaluated by the individual's ability to comminute a chewable test material in order to determine median particle size (X(50)) and distribution of particles in different sieves ("b"). BF was determined using a digital gnatodynamometer with fork strength of 10mm. Orofacial function and orthodontic treatment need were screened using the Nordic Orofacial Test-Screening (NOT-S) protocol and Index of Orthodontic Treatment Need (IOTN), respectively. The results were submitted to descriptive statistics, normality test, analysis of variance and stepwise multiple linear regression to test relationship between MP and studied independent variables.
Results: Variance of X(50) and b between groups was statistically significant. But evaluation of variables that significantly contributed to MP variation showed that age, body mass index (BMI), BF and the presence of sleep bruxism were negatively related to X(50) and the NOT-S clinical exam scores showed a positive relationship with X(50).
Conclusion: In the studied sample, age, BMI, BF and the presence of sleep bruxism were related to better MP; but the increase in NOT-S scores was significantly related to poorer MP.
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