Nihan CÜZDAN1, İpek TÜRK2, Volkan ÇİFTÇİ3, Didem ARSLAN4, Muharrem Cem DOĞAN3, İlker ÜNAL5

1Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation & Rheumatology, Balıkesir Atatürk City Hospital, Balıkesir, Turkey
2Rheumatology, Osmaniye State Hospital, Osmaniye, Turkey
3Pediatric Dentistry, Çukurova University Faculty of Dentistry, Adana, Turkey
4Department of Internal Medicine, Rheumatology, Çukurova University Faculty of Medicine, Adana, Turkey
5Department of Biostatistics, Çukurova University Faculty of Medicine, Adana, Turkey

Keywords: Exercise, microstomia, oral aperture, rehabilitation, systemic sclerosis

Abstract

Objectives: This study aims to evaluate the effect of a home-based orofacial exercise program on the oral aperture (OA) of systemic sclerosis (SSc) patients.

Patients and methods: This single-blind prospective randomized controlled study performed between March 2017 and January 2019 included 56 SSc patients (3 males, 53 females; mean age 52.9±10.6 years; range, 31 to 70 years) with an OA of <40 mm. Patients were divided into two groups. Group 1 (n=28, mean age 53.8±9.6 years) was given orofacial exercise program twice a day for one month in addition to oral hygiene care advices, followed by no activity for the next month. Group 2 (n=28, mean age 50.0±11 years) received oral hygiene care advices for the first month followed by the same exercise program for the next month. Patients’ OA was measured at baseline, and at first and second months.

Results: After the first month, OA increased in Group 1 (p<0.001), whereas no change was observed in Group 2 (p=0.579). At the end of two months, there was no additional increase in Group 1 (p=0.352), while there was a significant increase in Group 2 (p<0.001). There was no difference between OAs of the groups at the end of the trial (p=0.564).

Conclusion: Our results suggest that home-based orofacial exercise program improves OA of SSc patients.