Improvements in Maximum Bite Force with Gum-Chewing Training in Older Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial

J Clin Med. 2023 Oct 15;12(20):6534. doi: 10.3390/jcm12206534.

Abstract

No specific methods have been officially proposed for the prevention and improvement of oral hypofunction. Therefore, in this randomized controlled trial, we aimed to develop a gum-chewing training program and determine its effects in older adults. A total of 218 older adults, aged 65-85 years, were randomly allocated to the intervention or control groups. The intervention group chewed the experimental gum daily, whereas the control group consumed the experimental granular food daily. The outcome assessments measured the maximum bite force, occlusal contact areas, oral dryness, tongue pressure, tongue and lip functions, masticatory function, and gum-chewing time. The measured values for each outcome were compared between groups using the Mann-Whitney U test and within groups pre- and post-intervention using the Wilcoxon signed-rank test. A total of 211 participants completed the study. After 2 months, the intervention group had a significantly higher maximum bite force than the control group (p = 0.01), indicating that gum-chewing training improved maximum bite force in older adults. This was determined using one type of bite force measuring device. Therefore, it is suggested that gum-chewing training has a high potential to improve oral hypofunction.

Keywords: gum-chewing training; maximum bite force; older adults; oral function; randomized controlled trial.