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Improvements in oral functions of elderly after simple oral exercise

Authors Kim HJ, Lee JY, Lee ES, Jung HJ, Ahn HJ, Kim BI

Received 13 February 2019

Accepted for publication 6 April 2019

Published 16 May 2019 Volume 2019:14 Pages 915—924


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Walker

Hyo-Jung Kim,1 Joo-Young Lee,1 Eun-Song Lee,1 Hyo-Jung Jung,2 Hyung-Joon Ahn,2 Baek-Il Kim1

1Department of Preventive Dentistry & Public Oral Health, Brain Korea 21 PLUS Project, Yonsei University College of Dentistry, Seoul, Republic of Korea; 2Department of Orofacial pain & Oral medicine, Yonsei University College of Dentistry, Seoul, Republic of Korea

Purpose: Conventional oral exercises in previous studies are considered impractical for continuous use in the elderly because of the extended duration needed for effective outcomes. Therefore, in the present study, a simple oral exercise (SOE) was developed to reduce performance time, focusing on improvements in mastication, salivation, and swallowing functions. The aim of this study was to determine the short-term effects of the SOE with respect to improving mastication, salivation, and swallowing function in elderly subjects ≥65 years of age.
Patients and methods: The study included 84 subjects, all of whom performed the SOE 2 times per day for 1 week. Masticatory performance was assessed using the mixing ability index (MAI). Unstimulated saliva and the degree of moisture of the tongue/buccal mucosa were evaluated, and the repetitive saliva swallowing test was performed. On the basis of each of these four measurements, subjects were dichotomized into two groups with high (good) and low (poor) conditions. The same evaluations were conducted before and immediately after intervention, as well as after 1 week of intervention. A subjective evaluation with questionnaires was performed after 1 week of intervention. The changes were analyzed using repeated-measures ANOVA, Cochran’s Q test, and McNemar’s test.
Results: The mean MAI increased by 6% immediately after the intervention, and by 16% in the poor-chewing group. Similarly, the amount of unstimulated saliva increased by 0.1 ml/min immediately after the SOE, and by 29% in the poor-salivation group. The degree of tongue moisture increased by 3% and was maintained. In the poor-swallowing group, 25% and 40% of the subjects were upgraded to the good-swallowing group immediately after intervention, as well as after 1 week of intervention, respectively. The subjects experienced less discomfort as their oral function improved.
Conclusion: The SOE was effective in immediately improving oral functions, and improvement was maintained for 1 week.

Keywords: deglutition disorders, elderly, mastication, oral exercise, salivation, xerostomia

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