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Dysphagia—Exercises

A swallowing problem (dysphagia) makes eating and drinking harder to do. Choking is more likely when you have dysphagia. Swallowing wrong may cause food or liquid to enter your lungs. This can put you at risk for pneumonia. To make swallowing easier and safer, use the exercises below.

Lip exercise
Exercises are done to help you control your lips.

Increase Lip Control

By improving how well your lips close, you can reduce drooling. You may also have less food collect between your gums and cheeks. Practice these exercises ______ times a day.

  • Pucker your lips. Kiss the air, then relax. Do _____ times.

  • Blow and suck through a drinking straw. Do _____ times.

  • Close your mouth and puff out your cheeks. Do _____ times.

  • Smile _____ times.

Tongue exercise
Exercises are done to help you strengthen your tongue.

Increase Tongue Strength

These exercises can help make your tongue stronger and better able to move. Practice them ______ times a day.

  • Stick your tongue out as far as you can. Do _____ times.

  • Bring the tip of your tongue toward your nose. Do _____ times.

  • Stretch your tongue toward your chin. Do _____ times.

  • Touch the corners of your mouth with the tip of your tongue. Go back and forth _____ times.

  • Push your tongue against the inside of each of your cheeks. Do _____ times.

Online Medical Reviewer: Cobbs, Charles M, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Greenberg, Arnold, MD
Last Review Date: 10/13/2011
© 2000-2014 Krames StayWell, 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.