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The online version of this article (https://doi.org/10.1186/s12903-018-0525-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
A substantial number of adults suffer from obesity, that is caused by the risk factor, masticatory dysfunction. The association between mastication and obesity, however, is inconclusive. This systematic review aims to provide literature regarding the association between mastication and factors affecting masticatory function, and obesity in adults.
Four electronic databases (PubMed, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, and Web of Science) were used to search for publications that met the following criteria: published between 2007 and 2016, written in English, and assessed the associations between mastication and obesity among the population aged ≥18 years. The included publications were analyzed based on the study design, main conclusions, and strength of evidence identified by the two authors who screened all the abstracts and full-text articles and, abstracted data, and performed quality assessments by using a critical appraisal tool, the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme Cohort Studies Checklists.
A total of 18 articles (16 cross-sectional, 1 cohort studies, and 1 randomized controlled trial [RCT]) met our inclusion criteria and were evaluated. Poorer mastication was associated with obesity in 12 out of 16 cross-sectional studies. One cohort study showed that the obesity group displayed higher tooth loss than the normal weight group. One RCT demonstrated that gum-chewing intervention for 8 weeks significantly decreased waist circumference.
Most studies revealed a positive association between mastication and obesity among adults. Nonetheless, most of them are cross-sectional studies, which are insufficient to demonstrate a causal relation. Further advancement requires RCT, especially an intervention of improvement of mastication and obesity needed to confirm this association.