Effect of tongue-strengthening training combined with a tablet personal computer game in healthy adults

J Oral Rehabil. 2020 May;47(5):606-612. doi: 10.1111/joor.12944. Epub 2020 Feb 29.


Background: Game-based training has been shown to improve behavioural motor learning in various medical fields including rehabilitation.

Objectives: This study aimed to investigate the effects of a tablet PC (personal computer) game-based tongue training on tongue strength, thickness and compliance in healthy adults.

Methods: This study recruited 30 healthy volunteers. Subjects were randomly assigned to two groups (n = 15/group). Group 1 performed game-based tongue training, and group 2 performed tongue resistance training using the Iowa Oral Performance Instrument. Both groups performed the same tongue exercises as follows: frequency (isotonic = 30 times × 3, isometric = 20 seconds × 3), intensity (70% of 1-repeated maximum contraction) and intervention period (5 days for 6 weeks). The primary outcomes were tongue muscle strength and thickness. Secondary outcomes were assessed using a 0-to-10 numerical rating self-report scale that included motivation, interest/fun, physical effort and muscle fatigue/pain.

Results: Both groups showed significant improvement in tongue strength and thickness, but there were no significant differences between the groups after the intervention. The self-report scale numerical rating revealed that group 1 had significantly higher motivation and interest/fun after the exercise than group 2. Group 1 had expended a significantly lower physical effort than group 2. No significant differences were noted between the 2 groups for muscle fatigue/pain.

Conclusion: This study showed that both exercises had similar effects on tongue strength and thickness increase in healthy adults, but game-based tongue training was more fun and physically less demanding.

Keywords: game; strength; thickness; tongue; training.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Humans
  • Microcomputers
  • Muscle Strength
  • Resistance Training*
  • Tongue*

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