In this study tongue movements of 103 normal 5-, 6-, 7-, and 8-year-old children were measured and compared. The 5-year-olds were compared with children of an earlier study and data were combined for 2- to 8-year-old children.
Two different tongue positions were measured as three standard textures of food were presented: first, the position of the tongue as the food was 5 cm away from the lips, and second, the position of the tongue or other oral characteristics as the food was swallowed. For the anticipation of food a significant age–texture (p < .001) as well as an age–sex–texture interaction was noted (p < .035). For swallowing, significant age (p < .0001), texture (p < .0001), and sex–age interactions (p < .0001) were found. Although food is anticipated in a similar fashion by both sexes, age and texture differences must be taken into account when swallowing is evaluated. A preliminary developmental curve for the two eating behaviors is presented for children 2 to 8 years old.