An Interprofessional Approach to Oral Hygiene for Elderly Inpatients and the Perception of Caregivers Towards Oral Health Care

This Japanese study aimed at evaluating a specific oral hygiene intervention, the so-called “interprofessional oral health care support programme”, in elderly inpatients fed by feeding tube and unable to perform their own oral hygiene.

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Based on earlier studies, the authors state that good oral hygiene can suppress oral microbes and prevent aspiration pneumonia, a major cause of death among the elderly. However, oral hygiene is often performed by caregivers who may not have been trained for this task.

A team of dentists, dental hygienists, registered nurses, and speech therapists developed an oral care programme based on individual needs. The caregivers performing the daily oral hygiene routine received training in the cleaning protocol by a dental hygienist. It included moisturising and wiping the oral cavity, brushing teeth and dentures, tongue cleaning, wiping the oral cavity again, and finally, applying an oral moisturising gel. The intervention period was 12 weeks, and the total number of microbes on the tongue surface was measured once a week to assess oral status. The results showed a significant decrease of microbes, as well as an improved perception towards oral health care among the caregivers.

A summary of a scientific article

This summary of a scientific study by Ryu M et al. is presented by Anna Nilvéus Olofsson, DDS, Manager Odontology and Scientific Affairs. Click here for more information.