Read on to learn about good oral care for your loved ones.
Oral care is the mechanical removal of oral bacteria by brushing the entire oral cavity. Your loved one may require intensive oral care at least twice a day to ensure his/her mouth is free from bacteria overgrowth. Intensive oral care may reduce the incidence of aspiration pneumonia by:
Oral care is important in maintaining good oral hygiene. Good oral hygiene can have a significant impact on a person’s general well-being and quality of life.
Conversely, poor oral hygiene can lead to mouth pain, gum disease and tooth loss. If left untreated, severe gum disease may infect the surrounding bone and tissue, leading to other systemic diseases. Poor oral hygiene also increases the risk of pneumonia, especially in patients with dysphagia (swallowing difficulty).
Research shows that good oral care methods can reduce hospital admissions.
In addition, prolonged poor oral care may also lead to malnutrition, as patients tend to eat less when there is an ulcer or pain in the mouth.
Contrary to conventional belief, patients with no remaining dentition also need oral care, especially for gum surfaces, palate and tongue areas where bacteria can colonise. It is also important to note that patients on tube feeding also require oral care. As these patients are more prone to pneumonia due to swallowing difficulty, oral care needs to be done thoroughly for them.
For patients who are physically independent, have no significant swallowing difficulty and are able to gargle.
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This article was last reviewed on
22 Nov 2023
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