[Editor’s Note: This article is written in response to a great question from one of our dysphagia community members asking if there is evidence to support the claim that oral motor exercises strengthen the swallow function, noting that she was unable to find peer-reviewed research articles on this topic.]
If you suffer from dysphagia, there’s a chance that you’ve been recommended to perform “oral motor exercises,” which is essentially physical therapy for your muscles involved in swallowing, especially the tongue. These exercises are often recommended to patients with a variety of dysphagia etiologies, including head and neck cancers, those who have suffered a stroke, and even patients with Parkinson’s disease. There is about a dozen different oral motor exercises that speech-language pathologists and physicians will sometimes recommend to their patients. For a list of these exercises, click here. Please keep in mind that these exercises should be performed only under the recommendation and direct guidance of your healthcare professional.
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