Masticatory function and skull growth


  • (With 2 figures in the text)


A diminution in function of the masticatory muscles of the rat was produced by feeding upon an abnormally soft diet. As compared with a control group fed on a hard diet, this resulted in a 12% decrease in the mass of the cranium and mandible together with a reduction of some 1 to 2% in the overall dimensions of the cranial and facial skeleton. This contrasted with a decrease of some 4% in the length of the angular process of the mandible which is specifically associated with muscular insertion.

The differences in cranial dimensions of the two groups of rats were unlikely to have resulted from differences in overall body weight.