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The aim of this study was to examine the effect of chewing efforts on sensory and pain thresholds of the orofacial skin of symptom-free subjects. Fourteen healthy volunteers were recruited. Using a stair-case method, the tactile detection threshold (TDT) and the filament-prick pain detection threshold (FPT) on the cheek skin (CS) and the skin overlying the palm side of the thenar skin (TS) were measured before and after chewing gum for 5 min (Time 1: T1) and keeping the jaw relaxed for 5 min (Time 2: T2) as a control. Both for the test and control situation, the TDT was higher in all measurement sites after 5 min. As for the FPT, the reactions between T1 and T2 were quite opposite: the FPT increased and/or remained stable in T1, while, it decreased at all sites in T2. There were significant session effects (T1-T2) on the FPT at the left CS (P<0.01), right CS (P<0.05) and TS (P<0.05). The increase of TDT after chewing/no chewing could be due to habituation, while the decrease of FPT observed in the control situation might be due to sensitization, respectively. This potential sensitization, however, was not observed after chewing efforts. Further studies are needed to clarify the modulating effect of masticatory function on the trigeminal sensory system. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Ichiro Okayasu, Osamu Komiyama, Noriaki Yoshida, Kumiko Oi, Antoon De Laat. Effects of chewing efforts on the sensory and pain thresholds in human facial skin: a pilot study. Archives of oral biology. 2012 Sep;57(9):1251-5

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PMID: 22445779

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