Effects of lingual strength training on oropharyngeal muscles in South Korean adults

J Oral Rehabil. 2019 Nov;46(11):1036-1041. doi: 10.1111/joor.12835. Epub 2019 Jul 2.


Background: Lingual strength training (LST) has been reported to positively affect the activation of submental muscles, as well as to increase lingual muscle strength. However, there is little evidence to support its effectiveness.

Objectives: This study aimed to investigate the effect of LST on the strength and thickness of oropharyngeal muscles in healthy adults.

Methods: The study included 30 subjects who were assigned to the experimental (n = 15) and the control groups (n = 15). The experimental group performed LST based on tongue-to-palate resistance exercise method. LST was categorised as isometric and isotonic exercise. The intervention was performed five times a week for 6 weeks. The control group did not receive any intervention. The lingual strength was measured using the Iowa Oral Performance Instrument. Changes in the thickness of the mylohyoid and the digastric muscles and the lingual were assessed ultrasonographically.

Results: After the intervention, the thickness of the mylohyoid and the digastric muscles in the experimental group was significantly greater than that in the control group (P = 0.037 and 0.042).

Conclusion: This study demonstrated that LST increases the thickness and the strength of oropharyngeal muscles. Therefore, LST is a useful option in patients with dysphagia or in elderly patients prone to swallowing dysfunction.

Keywords: exercise; lingual; swallowing; ultrasonography.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Deglutition
  • Deglutition Disorders*
  • Humans
  • Muscle Strength
  • Republic of Korea
  • Resistance Training*
  • Tongue