Advanced oral care can reduce your risk for respiratory infection

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As seen in USA Today - Oral Health; Media Planet, August 2012

By Kathleen Vollman, MSN, RN, CCNS, FCCM, FAAN, Consultant

"Oral bacteria and its link to infection has been extensively studied and published in dental literature," said Robert Garcia, an Infection Control Preventionist at Stony Brook Medicine.

Risk factors for aspiration pneumonia (breathing foreign material into the lungs) include:

  • Dependent on others for oral care
  • Previously on hospital/nursing home ventilator
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Dry mouth

Helpful oral care interventions:

  • Brushing teeth after meals and before sleeping
  • Cleansing between brushings with an oral rinse
  • Moisturizing to help with natural saliva production
  • Regular professional dental assessment and treatment