Association of Oral Function With Long-Term Participation in Community-Based Oral Exercise Programs in Older Japanese Women: A Cross-Sectional Study

Sanae Miyoshi, Hideo Shigeishi, Eri Fukada, Maki Nosou, Hideaki Amano, Masaru Sugiyama


Background: There are several researches demonstrating that community-based educational and exercise programs can improve oral function in older people. However, the relationship between oral function and long-term participation in health programs has not been fully elucidated. The objective of this study was to clarify the oral health status and oral function of older people (≥ 65 years) who had been participating in community-based exercise programs at community salons.

Methods: We enrolled 108 women (mean age: 77.6 ± 5.7 years) who participated in oral and physical exercise programs once a week at community salons in Takehara throughout May 2017. This cross-sectional pilot study was approved by the Ethical Committee of Hiroshima University and informed consent was obtained from all participants. To assess oral function, the following tests were performed: tongue pressure test, oral diadochokinesis (ODK) measurement, repetitive saliva swallowing test (RSST) and oral wetness measurement.

Results: A significant negative correlation was found between age and ODK or RSST (Spearman’s rank correlation; P = 0.007 and P = 0.01, respectively). The duration of participation ranged widely from 1 month to 7 years (median: 2.3 years). Although there was no significant difference between participation period and oral function, individuals who had been participating for 3 years or longer did not demonstrate a negative relationship between age and oral wetness. Furthermore, they exhibited a weaker negative relationship between age and oral function (i.e. tongue pressure, ODK and RSST) when compared with individuals who had been participating for less than 3 years.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that long-term participation in community salon exercise programs may suppress the deterioration of oral function in older people. Further study will be necessary to clarify the significant correlation between oral function and community-based social activities such as oral exercise.

J Clin Med Res. 2019;11(3):165-170


Older people; Oral function; Community-based exercise program

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