Measuring lip force by oral screens. Part 1: Importance of screen size and individual variability
Journal article, 2017
To reduce drooling and facilitate food transport in rehabilitation of patients with oral motor dysfunction, lip force can be trained using an oral screen. Longitudinal studies evaluating the effect of training require objective methods. The aim of this study was to evaluate a method for measuring lip strength, to investigate normal values and fluctuation of lip force in healthy adults on 1 occasion and over time, to study how the size of the screen affects the force, to evaluate the most appropriate measure of reliability, and to identify force performed in relation to gender. Three different sizes of oral screens were used to measure the lip force for 24 healthy adults on 3 different occasions, during a period of 6 months, using an apparatus based on strain gauge. The maximum lip force as evaluated with this method depends on the area of the screen size. By calculating the projected area of the screen, the lip force could be normalized to an oral screen pressure quantity expressed in kPa, which can be used for comparing measurements from screens with different sizes. Both the mean value and standard deviation were shown to vary between individuals. The study showed no differences regarding gender and only small variation with age. Normal variation over time (months) may be up to 3 times greater than the standard error of measurement at a certain occasion. The lip force increases in relation to the projected area of the screen. No general standard deviation can be assigned to the method and all measurements should be analyzed individually based on oral screen pressure to compensate for different screen sizes.