, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 2–9 | Cite as

Age and Sex Differences in Orofacial Strength

  • Heather M. Clark
  • Nancy Pearl Solomon
Original Article


This study explored age- and sex-related differences in orofacial strength. Healthy adult men (N = 88) and women (N = 83) participated in the study. Strength measures were obtained using the Iowa Oral Performance Instrument (IOPI). Anterior and posterior tongue elevation strength measures were obtained using a standard method. Tongue protrusion and lateralization, cheek compression, and lip compression measures utilized adaptors allowing the participant to exert pressure against the bulb in different orientations. Lip and cheek strength measures were greater for men than women, but tongue strength did not differ between sex groups. Strong correlations between age and strength were not observed. However, group comparisons revealed lower tongue protrusion and lateralization strength in the oldest participants. The oldest participants also exhibited lower anterior and posterior tongue elevation strength relative to the middle-age group. Cheek and lip compression strength demonstrated no age-related differences. The current study supplements and corroborates existing literature that shows that older adults demonstrate lower tongue strength than younger adults. Sex differences were noted such that men demonstrated greater lip and cheek strength but not tongue strength. These data add to the literature on normal orofacial strength, allowing for more informed interpretations of orofacial weakness in persons with dysphagia.


Orofacial strength Strength assessment Age-related changes Sex differences Deglutition Deglutition disorders 



This project was supported in part by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation and Appalachian State University Research Council. This article expresses the views of the authors, which do not necessarily reflect the official policy of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or US Government.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC (outside the USA) 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Communication Sciences and DisordersAppalachian State UniversityBooneUSA
  2. 2.Army Audiology and Speech CenterWalter Reed Army Medical CenterWashingtonUSA

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