Committing to appointments with your dentist may not only aid your oral health in the long term – your breathing will have some benefits as well. An October 22, 2014 article in Laboratory Equipment magazine states:
New research shows vulnerable patients in the intensive care unit (ICU) who received enhanced oral care from a dentist were at significantly less risk for developing a lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI), like ventilator-associated pneumonia, during their stay. The study was published in the November issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, the journal of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA).
“Bacteria causing healthcare-associated infections often start in the oral cavity,” said Fernando Bellissimo-Rodrigues, lead author of the study. “This study suggests that having a dentist provide weekly care as part the ICU team may improve outcomes for vulnerable patients in this setting.”
The SHEA study was organized using random, observer-blind groupings of 254 adult patients who were confined at least 48 hours in the ICU. A nursing team was assigned to provide routine oral hygiene services to one group which involved cleansing using gauze and chlorhexidine.
The other group was placed under the aegis of a dental practitioner skilled in enhanced care methods up to five times a week. Veteran dentists in Concord, CA like Dr. Davis are proficient in such services, which include plaque scraping, guidance on proper brushing, and restorations for tooth decay. Extractions can be recommended if the subject tooth is already too degraded.
The result of the study merits much observation, as well as benefits you in the long run. The researchers discovered that the patients who had enhanced dental care stood a 56% less chance of having respiratory tract infections. At the same time, oral antisepsis procedures prevent bacteria from reaching the lungs.
In an age where greater effort is needed to promote clean living, visiting your dentist regularly is a step in the right direction. Keep your teeth and breath clean.
(Source: Dental Care Linked to Respiratory Risks in ICU, Laboratory Equipment, 22 October 2014)