Development of a simplified dysphagia assessment by dentists in older persons

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This study aimed to evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of a simplified clinical examination of swallowing by dentists and the Eating Assessment Tool (EAT-10), when compared with the diagnosis provided by a speech pathologist (gold standard).


Three dentists and 1 speech pathologist clinically evaluated 265 older persons in southern Brazil, 123 were residents in long-term care and 142 were community-dwelling, all able to respond to the research protocol independently. Accuracy, sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values (+PV and −PV), and positive and negative likelihood ratios (+LR and −LR) were calculated according to standard methods. This study was approved by the Ethics Committee of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul.


Mean age of the participants was 73.5 (±8.9) years and most of them were women (N = 157, 59.2%). The prevalence of dysphagia as diagnosed by a speech pathologist was 45.3%. The accuracy of diagnosis was 0.84 for the clinical examination of swallowing by dentists. Furthermore, sensitivity was 0.77, specificity was 0.89, +PV was 0.85, −PV was 0.83, +LR was 7.02 and −LR was 0.25. The accuracy of EAT-10 was 0.72, the sensitivity was 0.45, specificity was 0.94, +PV was 0.87, −PV was 0.67, +LR was 8.31 and −LR was 0.57.


Simplified clinical examination of swallowing by dentists was found to be an accurate method to screen dysphagia in older persons.

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