The Test of Masticating and Swallowing Solids (TOMASS): Reliability, Validity and Normative Data for the Adult Indian Population

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Indian Journal of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery


The Test of Masticating and Swallowing Solids (TOMASS) is a reliable and well-validated tool to assess the effectiveness of solid bolus ingestion. Previous studies have established normative values for 4 to 80+ years across a range of commercially available crackers and countries. The current study aimed to establish normative data for the TOMASS across age and gender groups for a commercially available biscuit (cracker) for the adult Indian population. A total of 300 typical individuals in the age range of 21 to 80 years grouped by age and sex participated in the study. Participants were instructed to eat a commercially (locally) available biscuit ‘as quickly and comfortably as possible,’ and the task was video recorded. The recorded video samples were analyzed to obtain measures of the number of bites, number of masticatory cycles, number of swallows, and total time taken to complete the ingestion of biscuit. Cronbach’s α values revealed a moderate to good (0.71 to 0.82) test–retest reliability; ICC values were suggestive of a high level (> 0.76) of interrater reliability for all the measures of TOMASS. The results of the one-way ANOVA revealed a significant main effect of age (F = 3.12, p < 0.01) and gender (F = 4.37, p < 0.01), but not an interaction between the two. Normative data stratified by age and gender were also generated. The TOMASS assessment procedure was feasible, reliable, and valid. In the current study, we observed that males took fewer bites, took less time, chewed less, and swallowed fewer times than females. A definitive age effect was observed for the number of bites, masticatory cycles, and total time. The normative data generated by the current study can serve as clinical benchmarks to assess the ingestion of solid bouls in the adult Indian population.

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