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Dysphagia is difficulty or discomfort when swallowing. It takes 25 different muscles and 5 different nerves to swallow. A problem with any of these muscles or nerves can result in dysphagia. Occasional difficulty swallowing may simply occur when you eat too fast or do not chew your food well enough and is usually not a cause for concern. However, constant difficulty swallowing may indicate a serious condition needing treatment.

Pain in the mouth or stiffness or pain in the jaw muscles can lead to troubles chewing your food. Having tooth loss or pain in your teeth, sore gums or dentures that do not fit right can cause chewing problems. Sometimes dry mouth and reduced saliva makes chewing difficult.

Signs of troubles swallowing and chewing:

  • Taking more time than usual to eat foods
  • Cough or clear your throat a lot during or after eating or drinking
  • Sounding “gurgly” or have a “wet” sounding voice after swallowing
  • Cough when eating or drinking
  • Having a hard time moving food around in your mouth or holding food in your mouth
  • Food dribbles out of your mouth
  • Refusing to eat certain foods
  • Complaints of food sticking in your throat
  • Food left in your mouth, after you are finished your meal

Next: Health Risks & What to do

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