Oral-systemic health is a concept backed by research based on the fact that your body’s health can be directly impacted by the state of your mouth. One recent study looked at patients in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) who were exposed to specialized dental health care from a dentist. This extra effort towards caring for teeth and gums proved to greatly lower these patients’ risk for developing lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI). These ailments (commonly linked to pneumonia) are common secondary infections in ICUs. If good oral hygiene can help patients who are very sick, imagine what it can do if you make it a habit before you are ever sick.
Brazilian Dental Care Study
An observer-blind randomized clinical trial was created by Brazilian scientists. The team collected data from 254 adult patients who spent at least 48 hours in an ICU for various serious health issues. A random sampling was selected to receive enhanced dental care from a licensed dentist, while the other patients received the regular oral hygiene given by the hospital’s nursing staff. Written results of the data from the research study were published in the November issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology. This journal represents the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA). Said the lead author of the study, Fernando Bellissimo-Rodrigues, MD, “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.”
What is Enhanced Dental Care?
Enhanced dental care in the case of this study included the following:
- Brushing teeth
- Implementing a tongue scraper
- Removal of tartar buildup
- Fillings and crowns
- Topical applications of chlorhexidine for gum disease
The regular dental care provided by the hospital was a manual cleaning of teeth and gums with gauze, and application of chlorhexidine. However, the patients who saw the dentist and received extra dental services proved to have 56 percent less risk for developing a respiratory tract infection during their hospital stay. The more germs kept at bay within the mouths of these critical patients, the less likely bacteria can travel to the lungs, complicating their condition and lengthening their stays at the hospital.
Consult with your Fort Worth General Dentist
At 7 Day Dental Center, Dr. Bob Jing and our team of dental professionals offer convenience, comfort, and the latest in quality family dentistry. With a focus on patient education and access to advanced dental technology, we can help you achieve a brighter, healthier smile. To schedule an appointment, call our office at (817) 405-2001. We proudly service the residents of Fort Worth, Haltom City, Sansom Park, White Settlement, and surrounding communities.