Better Dental Care, Healthier Hospital Stay

Considering the research, the importance of dental and oral health cannot be underestimated. The effects of your oral health reach far beyond your teeth and mouth. There are new research developments everyday that prove the connections. In today’s blog, your Lake Forest Dentist, Dr. Fondriest, explains why better dental care means a healthier hospital stay.

New Research

When someone is in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) they are very sick. Their life is often hanging in the balance, so the importance of oral health care may be underestimated. However, a new study has shown that this is a time of importance, not only for the patients overall health care, but for their dental care as well. Brazilian researchers analyzed data from 254 adult patients who stayed in a general ICU. The patients were divided into two groups: patients who received enhanced oral care from a dentist, and patients who received routine oral hygiene from the ICU nursing staff.

The care performed by the dentist was based on each patient’s needs and included brushing the patients teeth, scraping their tongue, removing calculus, atraumatic restorative treatment of caries, extracting teeth when necessary, and topical application of chlorhexidine four to five times a week. The treatment performed by the ICU staff included mechanical cleansing of the teeth and mouth using gauze, followed with a topical application of chlorhexidine three times daily.

The Results

The results of the study showed that ICU patients who received the enhanced treatment from the dentist were 56 percent less likely to develop a respiratory tract infection–such as ventilator-associated pneumonia–during their ICU stay compared to the patient control group. According to researchers, bacterial healthcare related infections often start in the oral cavity. Therefore, enhanced dental treatment, including oral antisepsis, routinely performed in ICUs shows effectiveness in reducing the oral bacteria, helping prevent migration of these bacteria into the lungs.

About Your Lake Forest Dentist:

Aside from providing dependable family, general, and restorative dentistry services to our community, Dr. James Fondriest also holds respected academic appointments at the Pankey Institute in Key Biscayne, FL, and the Spear Institute in Scottsdale, AZ, and he is an adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Prosthodontics at the University of Florida Dental School. At Lake Forest Dental Arts, Dr. Fondriest combines his impressive array of experience with modern technology and caring, compassionate, knowledgeable staff, and we proudly serve patients from all surrounding communities. To schedule a consultation, call our office today at (847) 234-0517.

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