• Occlusal pairs;
  • masticatory performance;
  • swallowing threshold;
  • chewing rate;
  • body mass index


Purpose: The aim of this cross-sectional study was to investigate the relationship between body fat and masticatory function.

Materials and Methods: One hundred dentate and partially edentulous participants (33 male; mean age, 39.7 ± 16.6 years) were selected. Body fat was established through body mass index (BMI). Masticatory function was evaluated by quantifying occlusal pairs and determining masticatory efficiency and swallowing threshold with the sieving method. During the swallowing threshold test, chewing rate was registered. Masticatory ability was also evaluated with a 5-point Likert scale questionnaire. Data were analyzed with Spearman and chi-square tests, as well as binary logistic regression analysis for the presence of increased BMI (α= 0.05).

Results: Age (rho = 0.517), occlusal pairs (chi-square = 26.353), masticatory efficiency (chi-square = 30.935), masticatory ability (chi-square = 25.132; p < 0.001), and swallowing threshold (chi-square = 8.730; p < 0.005) were related to BMI. Age (odds ratio, OR = 1.048, 95% CI = 1.008 to 1.089) and lower masticatory efficiency (OR = 4.792, 95% CI = 1.419 to 16.183) were predictive of increased body fat (p < 0.05). Gender (chi-square = 0.402, p= 0.526) and chewing rate (rho =–0.158, p= 0.117) were not related to BMI.

Conclusions: These results suggest that people with lower masticatory efficiency may be at risk for increased body fat.