, Volume 1, Issue 4, pp 173-177

Oral-pharyngeal dysphagia: A common sequela of salivary gland dysfunction

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Saliva plays a critical role in alimentary events, allowing food to be initially processed, formed into a bolus, and subsequently transported through the oral cavity. Patients with salivary gland hypofunction often present with dysphagic complaints. We therefore evaluated the possible relationship between salivary performance and swallowing ability in such patients. Patients subjectively reporting difficulty in swallowing had significantly lower salivary flow rates (1/6–1/3 less) than persons without such complaints. Similarly, patients with documented salivary hypofunction displayed significantly increased duration (more than two-fold) of the oral phase of swallowing for several experimental swallowing conditions. Our results support the hypothesis that dysphagia can result from conditions leading to salivary gland hypofunction.