Associations among masticatory muscle activity, physical activity and self-reported oral behaviours in adult women.


Prasad S(1), Ramanan D(2), Bennani H(3), Paulin M(4), Cannon RD(5), Palla S(6), Farella M(5).
Author information:
(1)Sir John Walsh Research Institute, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. [Email]
(2)Department of Orthodontics, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.
(3)Department of Computer Science, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.
(4)Department of Zoology, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.
(5)Sir John Walsh Research Institute, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.
(6)University of Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland.


OBJECTIVES: To examine the relationship between masticatory muscle activity (MMA), self-reported oral behaviours (OBs) and overall physical activity (PA) in adult women. MATERIALS AND METHODS: MMA and PA were assessed by a wearable electromyography (EMG) device and accelerometer respectively, worn over 2 non-consecutive days by 53 women (mean age 27.5 ± 6.4 years). Following the second recording day, self-reported OBs were assessed. MMA was assessed by the number, amplitude and duration of masseter contraction episodes. Masseter muscle EMG outcome measures were number of contraction episodes per hour (CEs/h) and the relative contraction time (RCT%). PA was assessed by time accumulated in moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and 10-min bouts of MVPA per hour. Data were analysed using mixed model analysis. RESULTS: MMA in free-living conditions consisted mostly of low-amplitude (<10% maximum voluntary clenching) and short-duration (<10 s) contraction episodes. Masseter CEs/h were not associated with self-reported levels of OB. Masseter CEs/h were positively associated with time accumulated in MVPA (F = 9.9; p = 0.002) and negatively associated with 10-min bouts of MVPA/h (F = 15.8; p <0.001). RCT% was not significantly associated with either. CONCLUSIONS: Objectively assessed MMA is not associated with self-reported OB in free-moving adult females. Moderate to vigorous exercise and physical inactivity are accompanied with an increase in the number of masseter muscle contractions and thus possibly tooth clenching activity. CLINICAL RELEVANCE: OB can be influenced by the type and extent of PA. Subjective assessment of MMA by questionnaire and/or interviews may be invalid.