Age and sex differences in orofacial strength

Heather M. Clark, Nancy Pearl Solomon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

110 Scopus citations


This study explored age- and sex-related differences in orofacial strength. Healthy adult men (N = 88) and women (N = 83) participated in the study. Strength measures were obtained using the Iowa Oral Performance Instrument (IOPI). Anterior and posterior tongue elevation strength measures were obtained using a standard method. Tongue protrusion and lateralization, cheek compression, and lip compression measures utilized adaptors allowing the participant to exert pressure against the bulb in different orientations. Lip and cheek strength measures were greater for men than women, but tongue strength did not differ between sex groups. Strong correlations between age and strength were not observed. However, group comparisons revealed lower tongue protrusion and lateralization strength in the oldest participants. The oldest participants also exhibited lower anterior and posterior tongue elevation strength relative to the middle-age group. Cheek and lip compression strength demonstrated no age-related differences. The current study supplements and corroborates existing literature that shows that older adults demonstrate lower tongue strength than younger adults. Sex differences were noted such that men demonstrated greater lip and cheek strength but not tongue strength. These data add to the literature on normal orofacial strength, allowing for more informed interpretations of orofacial weakness in persons with dysphagia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2-9
Number of pages8
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2012


  • Age-related changes
  • Deglutition
  • Deglutition disorders
  • Orofacial strength
  • Sex differences
  • Strength assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Speech and Hearing


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