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Analysis of human mastication behavior: a new approach using planar calculations of fragmented chewing sequences

The aim of this paper is to describe the possibilities of analyzing human mastication. The use of a standardized food model and a standardized protocol using condylographic recordings to create primary data was described elsewhere. Based on the findings of a systematic literature search the current analytic approaches to analyze human mastication showed that a chewing sequence is complex and influenced by many factors. Yet it was not able to establish a valid and robust model to describe human mastication pattern, taken into account known and unknown confounders such as age, sex, number of teeth, and quality of occlusion, either natural or artificial. A newly developed tool is introduced in this paper. The generic data are created by a jaw tracking system and the complexity of the chewing sequence fragmented in single chewing cycles. Planar calculations in all three spatial planes (sagittal, horizontal, and frontal) are used to describe each chewing cycle. Considerable differences in the calculated areas can be detected. Interindividual distinctions could be assessed, but working and non-working side, initial, median, and terminal chewing cycles of a chewing sequence showed considerable intraindividual differences. Comparable parameters, created in such an approach, should have the capability for a better understanding of complex mandibular dynamics during chewing. It can be assumed, that better understanding of human mastication, based on measurable values, will support diagnostic and therapeutic efforts for both, clinicians and researchers.

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