Chewing process and benefits
– Chewing is the process of crushing and grinding food with teeth.
– It increases the surface area of food for efficient enzyme breakdown.
Muscles of mastication move the jaws to bring the teeth into intermittent contact.
– Chewing makes the food softer and warmer, and saliva enzymes begin breaking down carbohydrates.
– Increasing the number of chews per bite can increase relevant gut hormones.
– Chewing may decrease self-reported hunger and food intake.
Chewing stimulates saliva production and increases sensory perception of food.
– Chewing almonds 25-40 times keeps people fuller and allows for better nutrient absorption.
– Chewing stimulates the hippocampus and is necessary for its normal function.

Chewing in animals
Chewing is mostly a mammalian adaptation, but some herbivorous dinosaurs also developed chewing.
– Birds, amphibians, and living reptiles do not chew.
– Cattle and other ruminants chew food more than once to extract more nutrients.
– Some animals, like cows, chew for long periods in a process called rumination.
– Chewing allowed ornithopod dinosaurs to obtain more nutrients from tough plant life.

Chewing motor program
Chewing is primarily an unconscious act, but can be mediated by higher conscious input.
– The motor program for mastication creates and controls the complex patterns of chewing.
– Feedback from teeth and temporomandibular joints govern the creation of neural pathways.
– The motor program continuously adapts to changes in food type or occlusion.
– Conscious mediation is important in limiting parafunctional habits and excessive engagement of the motor program.

Chewing in machinery
– The process of chewing has been applied to machinery, such as forestry mulching machines.
– A cold press juicer uses the mastication process to extract juice without loss of nutrients.
Chewing in machinery involves chewing through brush and timber for clearing firelines.
– The U.S. Forest Service utilizes a machine called a masticator for this purpose.
– Chewing in machinery reduces friction and allows for efficient extraction or clearing.

Chewing and its effects on appetite, nutrition, cognitive function, food transport, and dental health
Chewing affects appetite and food intake.
– Chewing increases feelings of fullness and satisfaction.
– Chewing reduces the amount of food consumed in a meal.
– Chewing promotes mindful eating and slower eating pace.
Chewing influences the release of gut hormones that regulate hunger and satiety.
– Impaired mastication negatively impacts nutrition.
– Difficulties in chewing can lead to reduced food intake.
– Impaired mastication affects the ability to properly break down food.
– Insufficient mastication can result in inadequate nutrient absorption.
– Impaired mastication may contribute to malnutrition.
– Chewing maintains hippocampus-dependent cognitive function.
– Chewing is associated with improved memory and learning.
Chewing stimulates the release of neurotrophic factors in the brain.
– Chewing promotes adult hippocampal neurogenesis.
– Chewing is linked to better cognitive performance.
– Chewing plays a role in food transport within the mouth.
Chewing breaks down food into smaller particles for easier swallowing.
– Chewing mixes food with saliva, aiding in digestion.
– Chewing helps form a bolus that can be swallowed efficiently.
– Chewing initiates the swallowing reflex.
Chewing exercises the jaw muscles, promoting oral health.
– Chewing stimulates saliva production, which helps neutralize acids in the mouth.
– Chewing removes food particles that can contribute to dental plaque.
– Chewing strengthens the teeth and jawbone.
– Insufficient chewing can lead to dental problems such as tooth decay and gum disease.

Merriam-Webster Online Thesaurus
Chewing (Wikipedia)

Chewing or mastication is the process by which food is crushed and ground by teeth. It is the first step of digestion, and it increases the surface area of foods to allow a more efficient break down by enzymes.

A monkey using mastication to process tough plant matter

During the mastication process, the food is positioned by the cheek and tongue between the teeth for grinding. The muscles of mastication move the jaws to bring the teeth into intermittent contact, repeatedly occluding and opening. As chewing continues, the food is made softer and warmer, and the enzymes in saliva begin to break down carbohydrates in the food. After chewing, the food (now called a bolus) is swallowed. It enters the esophagus and via peristalsis continues on to the stomach, where the next step of digestion occurs. Increasing the number of chews per bite increases relevant gut hormones. Studies suggest that chewing may decrease self-reported hunger and food intake. Chewing gum has been around for many centuries; there is evidence that northern Europeans chewed birch bark tar 9,000 years ago.

Chewing, needing specialized teeth, is mostly a mammalian adaptation that appeared in early Synapsids, though some later herbivorous dinosaurs, since extinct, had developed chewing too. Nowadays, only mammals chew in the strict sense of the word, though some fishes have a somewhat similar behavior. Neither birds, nor amphibians or any living reptiles chew.

Premastication is sometimes performed by human parents for infants who are unable to do so for themselves. The food is masticated in the mouth of the parent into a bolus and then transferred to the infant for consumption (some other animals also premasticate).

Cattle and some other animals, called ruminants, chew food more than once to extract more nutrients. After the first round of chewing, this food is called cud.

A piece of chewing gum after being trodden on.
Chewing (Wiktionary)

English

Etymology 1

From Middle English chewynge, chewand, from Old English *ċēowende, from Proto-Germanic *kewwandz, present participle of Proto-Germanic *kewwaną (to chew), equivalent to chew +‎ -ing.

Verb

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