In acute stroke patients, it is important to maintain tongue hygiene and tongue function for prognosis management. However, the direct relationship between these factors is unclear, since these are often assessed by multiple observables. In this study, we used structural equation modeling (SEM) analysis, a tool to analyze the relationship between concepts that cannot be measured directly, to analyze the relationship between tongue hygiene and tongue function. The subjects were 73 patients with acute stroke admitted to a university hospital who underwent dental intervention. Age, sex, nutritional intake method, clinical severity classification of dysphagia, number of current teeth, number of functional teeth, oral health, tongue movement, tongue coating, number of microorganisms on the tongue surface, tongue surface moisture level, and tongue pressure were measured at the first visit. SEM analysis showed that the relationship between tongue function and tongue hygiene was 0.05 between tongue function and swallowing function was 0.90, and that between tongue hygiene and swallowing function was 0.09. We found no statistical relationship between tongue function and tongue hygiene in acute stroke patients. However, it was reconfirmed that tongue function is strongly related to feeding and swallowing functions.
Keywords: acute stroke; oral health assessment tool; structural equation modeling; tongue function; tongue hygiene.