Effect of orofacial exercises on oral aperture in adults with systemic sclerosis

Disabil Rehabil. 2012;34(1):84-9. doi: 10.3109/09638288.2011.587589. Epub 2011 Sep 27.


Purpose: To examine the effect of a home orofacial exercise program on increasing oral aperture among adults with systemic sclerosis (SSc).

Method: Forty-eight adults with SSc were assigned randomly to the multifaceted oral-health intervention or usual dental care control group. Participants with an oral aperture of <40 mm in the intervention group received an orofacial exercise program, which included daily manual mouth-stretching and oral-augmentation exercises twice a day with a total of 6 minutes for 6 months. The outcome measure was oral aperture which was measured at baseline, 3-months, and 6-months intervals.

Results: A significantly larger increase in oral aperture for participants received the orofacial exercise program was found when compared to those in the usual care at 3 months (P = 0.01), but not at 6-months evaluation. Participants' adherence rate to the exercise program was low (48.9%).

Conclusions: The orofacial exercise program intervention for adults with SSc and microstomia did not show significant improvement at 6 months. In addition to the low exercise adherence rate, insufficient frequencies, repetitions, and durations of the orofacial exercises may contribute to these results.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microstomia / physiopathology*
  • Microstomia / rehabilitation*
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Compliance
  • Quality of Life
  • Scleroderma, Systemic / physiopathology*
  • Scleroderma, Systemic / rehabilitation*
  • Treatment Outcome