Region Jnkpings ln Odontologiska Institutionen

Screening of the impact of dental status and salivary function in patients referred for investigation of dysphagia

Bergendal B, Mörner-Serikoff E, Forsgren L, Wallquist J


The aim of the study was to evaluate the impact of impaired oral function in out-patients undergoing investigations for dysphagia.

Materials and methods 

Consecutive out-patients investigated for dysphagia at the ENT Department at County Hospital Ryhov, Jönköping, were referred for screening of dental status and salivation. The examinations comprised a panoramic radiograph, a clinical interview and examination, and testing of salivary flow rates of unstimulated whole saliva for 15 minutes and stimulated whole saliva for 5 minutes.


Eighty-eight patients, 43 women and 45 men, with a mean age of 65.8 yrs, were referred for oral examination. Four patients died before the dental appointment. The drop-out rate was 4.5%; two patients were unwilling to participate, and two failed to attend. Eighty patients aged 14 to 91 yrs participated. The most common medical diagnoses were cerebrovascular lesions (20), neuromuscular disorders (15), esophagus disorders (10) and sequelae to surgical interventions (9). In 10 patients no diagnosis related to dysphagia was found. Twenty-six patients (33%) had oral or oral and pharyngeal dysphagia.

The impact of dental status on dysphagia was judged severe in 11 cases, moderate in 16, and none in 53 cases. The impact of salivation on dysphagia was judged severe in 21 cases, moderate in 20 cases, and none in 34 cases. The impact of dental status, salivation or both was judged moderate or severe in 51 patients (65%).


Dental status, salivation, or both were found to have a moderate to severe impact on dysphagia in 65% of the patients. A dental screening is essential and ought to be included in an investigation of dysphagia. Dental treatment and measures to stimulate salivary flow or the use of saliva substitutes should be part of the treatment plan in the clinical management of dysphagia.

Uppdaterad: 2013-04-03
Anna Thofelt, Avdelningen för odontologisk radiologi Jönköping, Folktandvården