Dental Care For ICU Patients Lowers Infection Risk

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This post from The Steele Creek Dentist in Charlotte focuses on an article that appeared on The article describes a study of Brazilian ICU patients that compared infection rates of those who received enhanced oral care instead of routine oral care. The patients who received the more intense dental care were 56 percent less likely to develop a respiratory infection during their stay.

“Enhanced dental care included teeth brushing, tongue scraping, removal of calculus, atraumatic restorative treatment of caries, tooth extraction and topical application of chlorhexidine corresponding to each patients’ needs four to five times a week,” said Fernando Bellissimo-Rodrigues, MD, lead author of the study. “Comparatively, regular treatment consisted of mechanical cleansing using gauze followed by topical application of chlorhexidine three times a day.”

He went on: “Bacteria causing healthcare-associated infections often start in the oral cavity. This study suggests that having a dentist provide weekly care as part the ICU team may improve outcomes for vulnerable patients in this setting.”1

Though this study pertains to ICU patients, it is also a reminder to all of us. If a member of your family has serious health matters, you may want to talk to their doctor about the oral health implications of their condition.

Receiving consistent quality dental care and practicing proper daily oral hygiene is vital for everyone. Some patients have an inaccurate view of oral health – they seem to have the notion that it exists autonomously. It is actually interdependent with general physical health.

At The Steele Creek Dentist in Charlotte, we see ourselves as key members of your healthcare team. Our services include general and cosmetic dentistry, and emergency dental care. Schedule your next appointment with us today.

1Wanessa T. Bellissimo-Rodrigues, Mayra G. Menegueti, Gilberto G. Gaspar, Edson A. Nicolini, Maria Auxiliadora-Martins, Anibal Basile-Filho, Roberto Martinez, Fernando Bellissimo-Rodrigues. Effectiveness of a Dental Care Intervention in the Prevention of Lower Respiratory Tract Nosocomial Infections among Intensive Care Patients: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, 2014; 35 (11): 1342 DOI: 10.1086/678427

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Charlotte, North Carolina


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