Evidence in the human of a hypotensive and a bradycardic effect after mouth opening maintained for 10 min

Eur J Appl Physiol. 2017 Jul;117(7):1485-1491. doi: 10.1007/s00421-017-3643-8. Epub 2017 May 16.


Purpose: We have recently shown that in humans submaximal mouth opening associated with partial masticatory movements for 10 min is followed by a small but significant and prolonged reduction of blood pressure and heart rate. We here report the effects of a fixed mouth opener.

Methods: In 22 seated normotensive volunteers the effect on blood pressure and heart rate was studied in randomized order after fixed mandibular extension and after a control procedure consisting in keeping a stick between the incisor teeth (both for 10 min). Automated recordings every 10 min were done for 40 min before and 120 min following the procedure.

Results: Two-way ANOVA for repeated measures on absolute values (actual recordings) and on changes from baseline revealed that, compared to controls, systolic, diastolic and mean blood pressure and heart rate were significantly lower after mandibular extension. Compared to controls, mandibular extension induced an average blood pressure drop of 2.88 mmHg (systolic), 2.55 mmHg (diastolic) and 2.42 mmHg (mean) over the entire observation period. The average decline over the central part of the observation period (30th to 80th min) was, respectively, of 3.62, 3.70 and 3.61 mmHg. The decrements of heart rate were of 2.11 and 2.66 beats per min. All these differences were statistically significant. The hypotensive and bradycardic responses persisted for 70-120 min.

Conclusions: This study shows that, in normotensives, a single fixed submaximal mouth opening for 10 min is followed by prolonged albeit small reductions of blood pressure and heart rate.

Keywords: Blood pressure; Heart rate; Humans; Reflex, trigemino-cardiac; Temporomandibular joint.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Pressure*
  • Female
  • Heart Rate*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mandible / physiology*
  • Mastication
  • Mouth / physiology*
  • Random Allocation