A reduction in mechanical loading of the mandible brought about by mastication of soft food is assumed to decrease the remodelling rate of bone, which, in turn, might increase the degree of bone mineralization.The effect of a reduction in masticatory functional load on the degree and distribution of mineralization of mandibular bone was investigated in male juvenile New Zealand White rabbits. The experimental animals (n = 8) had been raised on a diet of soft pellets from 8 to 20 weeks of age, while the controls (n = 8) had been fed pellets of normal hardness. The degree of mineralization of bone (DMB) was assessed at the attachment sites of various jaw muscles, the condylar head, and the alveolar process. Differences between groups and among sites were tested for statistical significance using a Student's t-test and one-way analysis of variance, respectively.The DMB did not differ significantly between the experimental and control animals at any of the sites assessed. However, in the rabbits that had been fed soft pellets, both cortical bone at the attachment sites of the temporalis and digastric muscles and cortical bone in the alveolar process had a significantly higher DMB than cortical bone at the attachment site of the masseter muscle, while there were no significant differences among these sites in the control animals.The results suggest that a moderate reduction in masticatory functional load does not significantly affect the remodelling rate and the DMB in areas of the mandible that are loaded during mastication but might induce a more heterogeneous mineral distribution.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by a European Orthodontic Society research grant.