Development of the masticatory system is influenced by functional needs. Furthermore, masticatory exercise can improve masticatory function. The aim of this study was to evaluate the potential effect of the gum chewing exercise on the maximum bite force (MBF) in adult subjects with different facial morphologies. MBF was measured by a portable occlusal force gauge and lateral cephalogram was used for evaluation of craniofacial morphology in 19 individuals (7 males and 12 females) with a mean age of 25.4 years (SD ± 4.3). The volunteers underwent gum chewing exercise for 5 min twice a day for 4 weeks. MBF was measured before (T1) and after the 4-week exercise (T2). The facial morphology of the subjects was classified into the brachy (n = 7), mesio (n = 7), and dolicho (n = 5) facial types. In all three groups, exercise was associated with a significant increase in MBF, though the percent increase was highest in the dolicho facial type. We conclude that gum chewing exercise can improve masticatory performance, especially in individuals with dolicho facial morphology.
Keywords: bite force; craniofacial morphology; gum chewing exercise.