Orofacial sensorimotor behaviour in unilateral chewing: A comparative analysis in asymptomatic population

Physiol Behav. 2019 Dec 1;212:112718. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2019.112718. Epub 2019 Oct 18.


The main aim of the present study was to evaluate the presence of differences in motor, somatosensory and laterality recognise variables between individuals with unilateral chewing (UC) versus bilateral chewing (BC). A cross-sectional study with a nonprobabilistic sample was conducted. Seventy asymptomatic individuals were grouped as UC or BC to assess differences in motor, somatosensory, and laterality recognise variables. The recorded variables were range of motion (ROM), electromyographic (EMG) activity, lip grip force, 2-point discrimination (2-PD), pain pressure threshold (PPT), and laterality recognition. Significant differences in EMG activity of the masseter and temporal muscles were found in group*side (p<.005). Significant changes in group*side (p<.005) were found in lip strength and 2-PD in the maxillary and mandibular branch. For laterality, significant between-group differences in accuracy were found (p=.037). Individuals with UC showed unilateral sensorimotor modifications compared with those with BC. Although the relationship between type of mastication and temporomandibular disorder (TMD) cannot be established, neurophysiological changes in UC could affect biomechanics and temporomandibular joint function and could predispose individuals to the onset, development, and maintenance of TMD because patients with TMD usually present an impairment in orofacial motor and sensory functions, with recruitment abnormalities of the masseter and temporal muscles during chewing.

Keywords: Chewing side preference; Sensorimotor function; Temporomandibular disorders; Unilateral chewing.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Discrimination, Psychological / physiology*
  • Electromyography
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology*
  • Hand Strength / physiology
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mastication / physiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology
  • Young Adult