Background Microstomia is one of the major problems that causes multiple dysfunctions and affects quality of life in systemic sclerosis (SSc).1
Objectives The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effect of a home-based orofacial exercise program on the oral aperture (OA) of SSc patients.
Methods SSc patients who fulfilled the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) 2013 criteria with an OA of <40mm were included in the study. Patients were randomly divided into two groups. Group 1 was given oral augmentation and mouth stretching exercises with combination of strengthening exercise to masseter muscle twice a day for one month in addition to oral hygiene care advices; followed by no activity but oral hygiene care for the next four weeks. Group 2 received oral hygiene care advices for the first one month followed by the same orofacial exercise program twice a day for the next four weeks. Patients' OA was measured by a dentist at baseline, 1-month, and 2-months.
Results A total of 52 patients were included in the study. Twenty-seven patients were assigned to group 1 (mean age 53.70±9.79 years; 96.3% female) and twenty-five patients to group 2 (mean age 50.68±11.93 years; 96.0% female). A total of 28 patients (group 1, n=18; group 2, n=10) completed the study. After four weeks period, OA increased in group 1 (P<0.001), whereas no change was observed in group 2 (P=0.906). At the end of 2 months the intragroup analysis showed no additional increase in group 1 (P=0.283), but a statistically significant increase in group 2, regarding the measurement of OA (P=0.010). We didn't find any statistically significant difference between OA measurements of the groups 1 and 2 at the end of the trial (P=0.830).
Conclusions The results of this pilot study suggested that an intervention of combined home-based orofacial exercise program might improve oral aperture of SSc patients. Future studies with longer follow-up period and higher number of patients are needed to observe the long-term benefits of the presented home-based exercise program.
Frantz C, Avouac J, Distler O, Amrouche F, Godard D, Kennedy AT, Connolly K, Varga J, Matucci-Cerinic M, Allanore Y. Impaired quality of life in systemic sclerosis and patient perception of the disease: A large international survey. Semin Arthritis Rheum. 2016 Aug;46(1):115–23.
Disclosure of Interest None declared