Dental management in dysphagia syndrome patients with previously acquired brain damages

Ennio Bramanti, Claudio Arcuri, Francesco Cecchetti, Gabriele Cervino, Riccardo Nucera, Marco Cicciù


Dysphagia is defined as difficulty in swallowing food (semi-solid or solid), liquid, or both. Difficulty in swallowing affects approximately 7% of population, with risk incidence increasing with age. There are many disorder conditions predisposing to dysphagia such as mechanical strokes or esophageal diseases even if neurological diseases represent the principal one. Cerebrovascular pathology is today the leading cause of death in developing countries, and it occurs most frequently in individuals who are at least 60 years old. Swallowing disorders related to a stroke event are common occurrences. The incidence ranging is estimated from 18% to 81% in the acute phase and with a prevalence of 12% among such patients. Cerebral, cerebellar, or brain stem strokes can influence swallowing physiology while cerebral lesions can interrupt voluntary control of mastication and bolus transport during the oral phase. Among the most frequent complications of dysphagia are increased mortality and pulmonary risks such as aspiration pneumonia, dehydration, malnutrition, and long-term hospitalization. This review article discusses the epidemiology of dysphagia, the normal swallowing process, pathophysiology, signs and symptoms, diagnostics, and dental management of patients affected.

Key Words: Deglutition disorders, epidemiology, stroke

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