Mastication

Definition
  • Mastication is the physical act of chewing food and is performed in the oral cavity with the aid of teeth.
Physiological Significance
  • Digestive enzymes can only act on the surface of ingested materials; therefore, digestion is considerably facilitated by increasing the surface area exposed to digestive enzymes. Mastication breaks apart ingested materials and thus increases the available surface area. Mastication also reduces the size of ingested particles facilitating their propulsion through the GI tract.
Regulation
  • Mastication is controlled by both voluntary and involuntary nervous pathways.