Oral Health in Zero Gravity: A Comprehensive Review of Orofacial Effects and Countermeasures in Spaceflights

Author/Creator ORCID





Citation of Original Publication

Harika, Pedada Divya, Karan Hiral Mehta, Saraswathi Sravani Pulluri, Priyanka Rana, Hanmandla Rajani, Ayesha Aiman, Pedada Divya Harika, et al. “Oral Health in Zero Gravity: A Comprehensive Review of Orofacial Effects and Countermeasures in Spaceflights.” Cureus 15, no. 11 (November 19, 2023). https://doi.org/10.7759/cureus.49035.


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Space is a complex and challenging setting encompassing the region beyond Earth's atmosphere where astronauts and spacecraft operate. The unique conditions of spaceflights, particularly microgravity and radiation, pose significant challenges to astronaut health, including the orofacial region. It has effects on saliva production, microbial composition, and oral hygiene practices, which influence oral health status, such as increased risk of dental caries, gum diseases, oral discomfort, temporomandibular joint dysfunctions, sialoliths, pain and dysesthesia in the teeth and oral mucosa, masticatory muscle atrophy, and oral cancer which can be detrimental during prolonged missions. Hence, a comprehensive approach to dental care in space is imperative to ensure astronauts' well-being and overall health as we strive to extend our presence beyond Earth. This literature review paper sheds light on the intricate effects of space on the orofacial region and delves into the unique challenges astronauts face in upholding optimal oral health while in space. It explores the current state of dentistry in space and discusses advancements and strategies that aim to maintain optimal oral health for astronauts during extended space missions.