Oral strength comparisons across age and sex in healthy volunteers

Scott R. Youmans



Devices designed to objectively measure strength have allowed us to better understand oral musculature.  More data are needed to determine the variability of normal oral strength.  The study aimed at determining the differences in the strength of the tongue, lips, and cheeks across adult age groups and between the sexes.


One-hundred-thirty-two participants were equally distributed amongst younger, middle and older age groups, half of which were comprised of each sex.  Strength measurements using the IOPI were made for the lips, cheeks, and tongue in different directions.


All dependent measurements were positively correlated.  A significant difference between the younger and older groups was observed for anterior tongue strength exerted superiorly and tongue protrusion.  Males were significantly stronger than females for anterior tongue strength exerted superiorly and laterally and cheek strength.    


This study served to improve our understanding of normal oral strength by increasing the data available for normal healthy individuals of different ages and sexes.  Results supported some previous findings and conflicted with others.  Additional study is required to establish a better idea of the range of normal versus abnormal strength measurements and their impact on swallowing physiology.  This study represents a necessary step to that end.


oral strength; swallowing; deglutition; aging; tongue

Full Text:


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18103/mra.v2i2.311


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