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01.12.2018 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

BMC Oral Health 1/2018

Effect of oral functional training on immunological abilities of older people: a case control study

BMC Oral Health > Ausgabe 1/2018
Mitsue Sato, Masahiro Sugimoto, Yuko Yamamoto, Juri Saruta, Keiichi Tsukinoki



Oral functional ability decreases with age, and systemic immunological ability and quality of life can also deteriorate. Continuous moderate whole-body exercise for older people is known to improve oral functional and their immunological abilities. Here, we evaluated the effect of oral exercise as an alternative training method for highly older people who cannot perform whole-body exercises.


Unstimulated whole saliva samples had been collected for three times before training as baseline data and one time after 3 and 6 weeks of training each. Participants were instructed to conduct self-massage; their tongues were used to press their orbicularis oris muscle and buccinators, and instructed to perform bilateral massage of three major glands for facilitating saliva secretion. Medical histories, daily life habits and characteristics were also collected.


Totally 30 participants (84.2 ± 8.5 years) were enrolled. In contrast to previous researches, increase in salivary Immunoglobulin A (IgA) after the training was not observed. Interestingly, hierarchical clustering analyses revealed clear individual variations as two prominent clusters and a strong positive correlation between stimulated saliva flow rate and IgA flow rate, regardless of the continuous oral functional exercise. Only body mass index (BMI) showed significant differences between the two groups (Z = 2.06, P = 0.039, Wilcoxon rank-sum test) among all collected parameters.


Oral functional training limitedly effects on salivary parameters of highly older people. On the other hand, BMI characterized salivary features more than any other parameters, such as the presence of diseases or medication use in these people. Trial registration: UMIN-CTR Clinical Trial UMIN000028394 on 27/July 2017, retrospectively registered.
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