Hello my name is Adam Higgins. I am the sole author of this site. The reason I chose to do this site on Muscles of Mastication was not just to help Dr Sahal with his teaching, or because I was hoping to take up a career in dentistry. The reason is because when I was 5 years old I was diagnosed with a Language problem and went to a Speech and Language School for the next 5 years. This site is designed to help BMS students when learning the Muscles of Mastication, when there are problems with theses muscles, some people experience speech and language problems. Below I have included some of the questions me and my family experienced when I was growing up. Some of the questions have been modified to help protect identity.


Q/ My son goes to a Speech and Language School in Sheffield, he has been there full time for five years now. When he was about 5 years old he would not eat red meat when the family would sit together and eat the Sunday dinner with the Grandparents. When my Father asked my son, do you like beef? We were astonished when he replied, ‘I like to eat beef, but I find it hard to chew.’ My son now eats regular amounts of beef, and his language problem have been conquered. Is there a link between language problems and the ability to chew meats? Mrs Walsky.

A/ Studies from the Speech and Language departments at the University of Manchester and the University of Oxford on children experiencing Speech and Language problems show a strong link which has been put forward for Speech problems being associated to problems of mastication (chewing). To elucidate this, the muscles of mastication are associated with not just mastication but also speech as the muscles of mastication have a role in lip movements to allow pronouncing of the words.


Q/ My best friend has a speech problem, however he is very sociable but does not show facial emotions well. I spend most weekends with him; however he says he is enjoying himself, but I do not always believe him as he does not express facial emotions. Is this normal to expect from a person with speech problems? Ben

A/ What you have to remember is that people express there emotions in totally different ways. Studies have shown than people with Speech problems may show a lack of facial expressions, but this is not conclusive. These are many muscles associated with facial expressions and the muscles of mastication only have a relative minor role to play.


Other Questions asked on the site... Q/ At School my friend was having a big yawn and another student as a joke, hit him really hard on the back. The class started laughing, but the teacher went up the wall with the student and threatened to expel him. The student had to go to hospital as he could not close his jaw. Is the teacher over-reacting? Solanki

A/ No wonder the teacher went mad; your colleague had done something very silly. What has happened is when you take a big yawn you temporally dislocate the jaw. The punch would have been so traumatic for the poor student that the jaw would have been permanently dislocated and would have to be popped into the correct position by a maxillofacial surgeon. There should be no long term problems for the student.


Q/ My teacher tells me I talk too much, so he believes I have an enormous temporalis muscle as I am always opening and closing my mouth (less of the latter). However I have a really small head, so I do not think my temporal squama could hold a very big temporalis. Natalie

 A/ I think the teacher is saying in a polite way that maybe you should try to talk less in class as this may be disruptive to others. The temporalis muscle as a result of evolution is the most efficient muscle of mastication; evolution has resulted in the muscle being relatively large yet in proportion to the other muscles of mastication. Millions of years of evolution have resulted in the temporalis being the size it is, twenty years I do not think will make a noticeable difference.


Q/ My cousin is a glamour model, and she was saying a Plastic Surgeon told her that if you have a implant around the Buccinator muscle then she would have a big pout in all her glamour photos. Is this true? Anon

 A/ This is a difficult one, as it is hard for me to comment on, however the Buccinator has a minor role in mastication, this muscle is used when you whistle, pout your lips or when swallowing and the lips tighten. NB-This website does not endorse any plastic surgery, the sole mission of the site is to help students with L2 or L3 learning. 



I have terrible pain in front of my ear, and excruciating pain in both ears when I sleep. When chewing toffee my jaw frequently locks, and I have difficulty closing and opening my mouth. My ears now have increased sensitivity to sound and vertigo. As well as reduced movement of the jaw. Could this be a TMJ disorder? Sally A


It appears that you have a TMJ disorder, in which case you should visit a GP as soon as possible. TMJ disorders are a fairly common problem, in fact 1:10 people suffer from jaw problems during their life. You can significantly decrease your risk of developing this disorder by not chewing gum for more than twenty minutes during the day. I found this leaflet from the NHS which discusses solutions for TMJ disorders and how to prevent them in the future. NHS- TMJ disorder.



Adam Higgins

99 Buckley Avenue,
Bond Street,
L1 0AD

01724 511600


Did you know?

The levator labii superioris alaeque nasi muscle is the human muscle with the longest name. The muscle helps to elevate the upper lip.