The purpose of this article is to review the literature concerning the ideal chewing pattern for best chewing performance. We conclude that at this time there is not one ideal chewing pattern which can be used clinically or in research to assess the health of the mastication apparatus nor to predict chewing performance. It is clear that human masticatory behaviour is one of the most complex human behaviours. Chewing is under the control of the central pattern generator located in the brain stem but is influenced by dental and temporomandibular joint morphology. The most important portion of the chewing cycle is the area entering and leaving the intercuspal position where gliding contacts occur. Maximal chewing capability will likely occur when the chewing pattern follows the dental anatomy unique to the individual. The chewing cycle appears to increase the lateral component of its movement when increased chewing efficiency is required. These situations include increased hardness or the size of bolus, the position of the bolus and the results of the proceeding chewing stroke. The chewing pattern for any one cycle is influenced by a number of factors, thus it is not surprising that the question of the ideal chewing pattern remains unresolved.
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