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Oropharyngeal Dysphagia

Oropharyngeal dysphagia is a type of swallowing disorder that is usually a resulting consequence from abnormalities located in muscles, nerves, or the structures of the oral cavity, pharynx, and upper esophageal sphincter.


Some of the more common signs and symptoms of swallowing difficulties that could indicate the presence of oropharyngeal dysphagia include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Difficulty controlling food in the mouth
  • Difficulty controlling saliva in the mouth
  • Trouble initiating a swallow
  • Coughing
  • Choking
  • Frequent pneumonia
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • A gurgly / wet voice
  • Nasal regurgitation


Oropharyngeal dysphagia is commonly seen is patients who are elderly, have had strokes, have recently been intubated (especially those who had prolonged intubation), those with head and neck cancer, and those with progressive neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, dementia, multiple sclerosis, multiple symptom atrophy, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.