Dysphagia (Trouble Swallowing)
Those suffering from dysphagia, or trouble swallowing, can reduce their risk of chest infection or other serious issues by maintaining good oral health by keeping their mouth clean. Other medical issues include neuromuscular conditions, stroke, dementia, traumatic brain injury, gastroesophageal reflux disease, cancers of the head and neck and certain respiratory conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Aspiration pneumonia can also be caused when saliva, food or liquid goes down the trachea into the lungs, instead of the esophagus and into the stomach.
Risk of dysphagia increases with age and frailty, as well as smoking, excessive alcohol use, certain medications and poor oral hygiene including your teeth and dentures.
Possible Signs & Symptoms:
- Difficulty when trying to swallow
- Coughing and choking during or after meals
- Wet voice during or after meals
- Weight loss and/or dehydration
- Difficulty with certain textures of foods
- Pocketing of food in the mouth
- Regurgitating food
- Frequent fevers or chest infections
Content supplied by the Brushing Up on Mouth Care Program http://www.ahprc.dal.ca/projects/oral-care/