Considerations in Evaluating and Treating the Oral Stage of Swallowing The port of entry for ingestion and for all oral motor activity is, of course, the mouth. This structure and its functions is the initiating system for swallowing and oral preparation before any material is swallowed. Too often, the oral stage of the swallow is not adequately assessed instrumentally, ... Article
Article  |   March 01, 2003
Considerations in Evaluating and Treating the Oral Stage of Swallowing
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Barbara C. Sonies
    National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD
  • Barbara Sorties is Chief of the Oral Motor Function Section and Director of the Oral Pharyngeal Function and Ultrasound Imaging Laboratory in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine-Physical Disabilities Branch at the W G Magnuson Clinical Center, National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, bsonies@cc.nih.gov
Article Information
Swallowing, Dysphagia & Feeding Disorders / Articles
Article   |   March 01, 2003
Considerations in Evaluating and Treating the Oral Stage of Swallowing
SIG 13 Perspectives on Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia), March 2003, Vol. 12, 13-15. doi:10.1044/sasd12.1.13
SIG 13 Perspectives on Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia), March 2003, Vol. 12, 13-15. doi:10.1044/sasd12.1.13
The port of entry for ingestion and for all oral motor activity is, of course, the mouth. This structure and its functions is the initiating system for swallowing and oral preparation before any material is swallowed. Too often, the oral stage of the swallow is not adequately assessed instrumentally, and the focus of an evaluation of swallowing function shifts to the pharynx. The commonly used evaluation techniques to assess swallowing (videofluoroscopy and endoscopy) best image pharyngeal and esophageal structure and function. Many times, especially in infants, small children, neurologic conditions, and head and neck cancer, understanding the changes in the components of the oral stage will provide salient information for treating the entire swallow and may reveal deficits that are most amenable to improved feeding ability. The events that occur in the oral swallow are often the determiners of the execution of the events in the rest of the swallow. In cases of abnormal swallowing, the oral stage findings often predict subsequent problems in the pharyngeal swallow. Thus, treatment by the speech-language pathologist should be heavily geared to what we can best modify, the oral stage.
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