Effects of respiration on soft palate movement in feeding

K. Matsuo, H. Metani, K. A. Mays, J. B. Palmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Cyclic soft palate elevation is temporally associated with masticatory jaw movement. However, the soft palate is normally lowered during nasal breathing to maintain retropalatal airway patency. We tested the hypothesis that the frequency and amplitude of soft palate elevation associated with mastication would be reduced during inspiration. Movements of radiopaque soft palate markers were recorded by videofluorography while 11 healthy volunteers ate solid foods. Breathing was monitored with plethysmography. Masticatory sequences were divided into processing and stage II transport cycles (food transport to the oropharynx before swallowing). In food processing, palatal elevation was less frequent and its displacement was smaller during inspiration than expiration. In stage II transport, the soft palate was elevated less frequently during inspiration than expiration. These findings suggest that masticatory soft palate movement is diminished during inspiration. The control of breathing appears to have a significant effect on soft palate elevation in mastication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1401-1406
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of dental research
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Award R01-DC-02123 and MEXT KAKENHI (21792163).


  • breathing
  • deglutition/physiology
  • eating
  • fluoroscopy


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