Tongue thrust, which is an oral reflex associated with sucking behaviour, may cause problems in swallowing, speech, oro-facial development and also drooling. We aimed to examine the effect of Functional Chewing Training (FuCT) on tongue thrust and drooling in children with cerebral palsy. The study included 32 children with a mean age of 58·25 ± 9·58 months who had tongue thrust. Children were divided into two groups: the FuCT group and control group receiving classical oral motor exercises. Each group received training for 12 weeks. Oral motor assessment was performed. Chewing performance level was determined with the Karaduman Chewing Performance Scale. Tongue thrust severity was evaluated with the Tongue Thrust Rating Scale. The Drooling Severity and Frequency Scale was used to evaluate drooling severity and frequency. The evaluations were performed before and after treatment. Groups were well matched in age, gender and oral motor assessment. No significant difference was found between groups in terms of pre-treatment chewing function, tongue thrust severity, drooling severity and frequency (P > 0·05). The FuCT group showed improvement in chewing performance (P = 0·001), tongue thrust severity (P = 0·046) and drooling severity (P = 0·002), but no improvement was found in terms of drooling frequency (P = 0·082) after treatment. There was no improvement in chewing performance, tongue thrust, drooling severity and frequency in the control group. A significant difference was found between groups in favour of FuCT group in tongue thrust severity (P = 0·043). This study showed that the FuCT is an effective approach on the severity of tongue thrust and drooling in children with CP.
Keywords: Cerebral palsy; chewing; chewing training; reflex; saliva; tongue thrust.
© 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.