Background and objectives: The masticatory force affects craniofacial development. We aimed to quantify the topological deviation of the growing craniofacial structure due to soft-food diet feeding and to map the region where the phenotypes appeared on three-dimensional (3D) images. Material and methods: Mice were fed a powdered soft diet (SD) or conventional hard diet (HD) of regular rodent pellets at 3 weeks of age until 9 weeks of age. The heads, excluding the mandibles, were scanned by micro-computed tomography. The topographic deviation of the bony surface was quantitatively assessed by a wire mesh fitting analysis. The actual displacement and significant differences were mapped and visualized in each x-, y-, and z-axis on the 3D craniofacial image. On these reconstructed images, two-dimensional linear measurements between the landmark points confirmed the 3D skeletal displacement. Results: In the transverse direction, the zygomatic arches and the region in which the temporal muscle attaches to the parietal and temporal bones were narrow in the SD group. The temporal muscle attachment regions significantly shifted anteriorly, and consequently, the sagittal zygomatic arch shortened. Although the cranial sagittal length was not affected, the vertical height was also reduced in the SD group compared to the HD group. Conclusions: Our 3D surface-based analysis demonstrated that SD feeding resulted in reduced 3D bony development at the region where the chewing muscles attach to the zygomatic arches and the temporal and parietal bones. Interestingly, SD feeding induced an anterior shift in the temporal and parietal bone regions, which can affect the skeletal inter-jaw relationship.
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