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Surface electromyography pattern of human swallowing

Author(s): Monaco Annalisa | Cattaneo Ruggero | Spadaro Alessandro | Giannoni Mario

Journal: BMC Oral Health
ISSN 1472-6831

Volume: 8;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 6;
Date: 2008;
Original page

Abstract Background The physiology of swallowing is characterized by a complex and coordinated activation of many stomatognathic, pharyngeal, and laryngeal muscles. Kinetics and electromyographic studies have widely investigated the pharyngeal and laryngeal pattern of deglutition in order to point out the differences between normal and dysphagic people. In the dental field, muscular activation during swallowing is believed to be the cause of malocclusion. Despite the clinical importance given to spontaneous swallowing, few physiologic works have studied stomatognathic muscular activation and mandibular movement during spontaneous saliva swallowing. The aim of our study was to investigate the activity patterns of the mandibular elevator muscles (masseter and anterior temporalis muscles), the submental muscles, and the neck muscles (sternocleidomastoid muscles) in healthy people during spontaneous swallowing of saliva and to relate the muscular activities to mandibular movement. Methods The spontaneous swallowing of saliva of 111 healthy individuals was analyzed using surface electromyography (SEMG) and a computerized kinesiography of mandibular movement. Results Fifty-seven of 111 patients swallowed without occlusal contact (SNOC) and 54 individuals had occlusal contact (SOC). The sternocleidomastoid muscles showed a slight, but constant activation during swallowing. The SEMG of the submental and sternocleidomastoid muscles showed no differences between the two groups. The SEMG of the anterior temporalis and masseter muscles showed significant differences (p < 0.0001). The duration of swallowing was significantly higher in the SNOC subjects. Gender and age were not related to electromyographic activation. Healthy SOC and SNOC behaved in different ways. Conclusion The data suggest that there is not a single "normal" or "typical" pattern for spontaneous saliva swallowing. The polygraph seemed a valuable, simple, non-invasive and reliable tool to study the physiology of swallowing.
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