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Effect of Masticatory Ability on General Health

Adopted by the FDI General Assembly: 18 September 2003

Maintaining masticatory ability has essential benefits not only related to the digestion of food, but because it may also contribute to physical and mental well-being.

There is evidence to support that:

  • Mastication stimulates the flow of saliva. Saliva contains compounds that help
    maintain the health of oral tissues and protect the body against pathogens.
  • Mastication has been demonstrated to increase blood flow within the brain,
    and to stimulate central neural activity. The implications are unclear and need
    to be clarified by further research.
  • Loss of masticatory ability may be associated with emotional and physical
    health complications.

Both dentists and patients have a responsibility to contribute to overall health by maintaining masticatory ability.

Further research on the relationship between masticatory ability and overall health is necessary.

Main authors:
Prof Minoru Nakata, Prof Hideaki Suda

Submitted by:
FDI Science Commission

FDI Science Commission Project 1-95: Chewing Functions and
its Effects on General Health
Nakata, M: Masticatory function and its effects on general health.
Int Dent J 1998 48:540-548.