Archives of oral biology vol:57 issue:9 pages:1251-5
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 5min (Time 1: T1) and keeping the jaw relaxed for 5min (Time 2: T2) as a control. Both for the test and control situation, the TDT was higher in all measurement sites after 5min. 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.