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Clin Otolaryngol. 2013 Jun;38(3):231-6. doi: 10.1111/coa.12118.

Quantitative evaluation of oral function in acute and recovery phase of idiopathic facial palsy; a preliminary controlled study.

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  • 1Department of Oral Diagnostic Sciences, Nihon University School of Dentistry, Tokyo, Japan.



Patients with peripheral facial palsy frequently complain of fluid leakage and food retention during meals. We investigated oral function during eating in adults with peripheral facial palsy.


A prospective two-phase controlled observational study.


Data were collected at the ENT clinic in Nihon University Itabashi Hospital (patients) and Nihon University Dental Hospital (controls) between September 2009 and August 2011 and analysed at the Department of Oral Diagnostic Sciences in Nihon University School of Dentistry.


Fourteen patients with acute idiopathic facial palsy and 14 controls completed Study 1. Sixteen patients with acute idiopathic facial palsy and 16 controls completed Study 2.


In Study 1, oral vestibular cleansing capability was assessed by measuring the amount of rice remaining in the oral vestibule after mastication. In Study 2, masticatory efficiency was evaluated by measuring glucose eluted from gummy jelly during chewing. These oral functions were observed at the first visit and final visit (after patients with facial palsy had recovered).


Oral vestibular cleansing capability at the first visit was significantly decreased by facial palsy (P < 0.001 versus healthy volunteers and P < 0.001 versus contralateral side) but recovered as facial muscular function improved (P = 0.034). There was a significant correlation between improvement in paralysis and decreased food retention (r = -0.528, P = 0.010). At the first visit, masticatory efficiency on the affected side was significantly lower than that of controls (P = 0.002) but had mostly recovered after resolution of facial palsy (P = 0.033).


Oral functions were decreased by peripheral facial palsy. Oral vestibular cleansing capability was more significantly associated than masticatory efficiency with facial muscle function. Our data suggest that peripheral facial palsy impairs eating and worsens oral hygiene, which may result in oral disease.

© 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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