, Volume 1, Issue 4, pp 216-222,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 15 Sep 2013

Oral Health and Swallowing Problems

Abstract

Oral health impacts systemic health. Therefore, oral care is an important consideration in maintaining quality of life (QOL). Previously, maintenance and improvement of oral hygiene was considered essential for achieving oral health. In addition to oral hygiene, oral care in terms of oral function is now considered to maintain QOL. Ingestion of exogenous nutrients via the oral cavity is fundamental to the function of all higher animals, not only human beings. Chewing and swallowing processes are critical for normal food intake, and adequate saliva supply and oral care to allow proper functioning of these processes are indispensable for maintaining QOL. In this review, we will summarize the relationship between chewing and swallowing and effects of saliva secretion on these functions, and discuss methods to maintain ingestion of exogenous nutrients and prevent swallowing problems, especially in elderly people.