It has been observed that the elderly experience decreases in production of saliva and xerostomia, which can lead to oral soft-tissue disease, dental cavities, periodontal disease, and oral Candidiasis. Although the masticatory and swallowing functions are linked to overall health, nutritional status and quality of life along with the chemical agents used for treating the dry mouth.
However, in the new study, researchers have improved the oral function in the elderly by performing a simple oral stretching and exercise technique. These are simple dental health tips for adults. According to the researchers, the traditional oral exercises performed during the previous studies were found to be impractical for continuous practice in the elderly as it needed to be performed for a very long duration in order to get positive results.
But the new study used a simple oral exercise, including lip stretching, tongue stretching, cheek stretching, and swallowing movements for reducing the performance time and determining the short-term effects of the SOE (Simple Oral Exercise).
The study had 84 participants aged 65 years and above who performed the SOE twice a day for one week on the basis of the instructions given by the dental hygienist. The researchers assessed masticatory performance of the participants by using the mixing ability index. They also assessed the unstimulated saliva and moisture levels of the tongue and repeated the saliva swallowing test.
The participants were segregated into two groups with good and poor oral health. The results showed that the mean MAI (Mixing Ability Index) increased by 6% after intervention and by 16% in the poorest chewing group. The amount of unstimulated saliva increases by 29% in the poorest salivation group. The degree of tongue moisture also increases by 3%. In the Poor swallowing group, 25% and 40 % of the participants were upgraded to the good-swallowing group immediately after intervention. As a final result, the participants observed improvement in their oral function and experienced lesser discomfort.
Thus, the new simple exercise proved to be effective in improving the oral functions in elderly people.