The researchers reviewed data from studies done in the UK, France, the US and Netherlands between 1998 and 2009. They discovered increases in plaque accumulation and gum inflammation. The worst cases seemed to be patients who required help with their breathing. The researchers also concluded “…on the basis of current evidence, a deterioration would be expected to increase the risk of hospital-acquired infections, increase care costs and have a negative impact on health-related quality of life.” Respiratory diseases were shown to be one of the risks resulting from poor oral hygiene.
Hospitals are busy places and nurses and their aides are usually overworked so it is up to patients, their friends and families to make sure that oral hygiene habits are maintained. Brushing and flossing need to be done every day. Some medications or a reduction in fluid intake can lead to dry mouth. Our saliva helps keep our teeth and gums healthy so it is important to use a saliva replacement if necessary.
In previous studies, poor oral health and dysfunction has been linked to a negative effect on nutritional status. There are also consequences for quality of life, well-being and personal dignity during hospital stays.
The research points to several potential reasons for the decline in oral health during hospitalisation including: the low priority given to oral care provision; the implementation of improper oral care regimes; and as a direct consequence of hospitalisation.
New research suggests that oral health deteriorates during hospitalisation and is associated with an increased risk of hospital-acquired infections and reduced quality of life.
Research to be published next month in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology provides the latest evidence that oral health is being overlooked in hospitals, with potential serious consequences. The research reviewed data from five studies between 1998 and 2009 in the UK, USA, France and Netherlands. The research identified increases in plaque accumulation and gingival and mucosal inflammation. The findings were worst amongst patients who required help with their breathing.