18 Dec Brushing Teeth in Hospitalized Patients May Reduce Risk of Pneumonia
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Michael Klompas MD, MPH, FIDSA, FSHEA
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Professor of Medicine and Population Medicine
Harvard Medical School and
Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Can teeth be safely brush in patients who are comatose, intubated or have NG tubes?
Response: Pneumonia is thought to occur when secretions from the mouth get into the lungs. Since there are many microbes in the mouth, there’s a risk that secretions from the mouth that get into the lungs will lead to pneumonia. Toothbrushing may lower this risk by decreasing the quantity of microbes in the mouth.
It is indeed safe and appropriate to brush the teeth of someone who is comatose, intubated, or who has an NG tube. Indeed, our study found that the benefits of toothbrushing were clearest for patients receiving mechanical ventilation.
Response: What are the main findings?
Response: We found that regular toothbrushing in hospitalized patients decreases their risk of developing pneumonia, and for patients on ventilators, decreases the amount of time they spend on a ventilator, decreases the amount of time they spend in the intensive care unit, and lowers their risk of dying.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Our study reaffirms the importance of toothbrushing for both oral health and general health. Patients are advised to remember to continue to brush their teeth when they get hospitalized in order to protect themselves from pneumonia, to hasten their recovery from illness, and lower their changes of dying in hospital.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a results of this study?
Response: The majority of the evidence we found focused on mechanically ventilated patients. there was less data available on the potential benefits of toothbrushing for non-ventilated patients outside the ICU. We hope that future studies will gather further data on the impacts of toothbrushing in these populations.
Ehrenzeller S: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. JAMA Intern Med. Published online December 18, 2023. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2023.6638Klompas M. Association Between Daily Toothbrushing and Hospital-Acquired Pneumonia
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Last Updated on December 18, 2023 by Marie Benz MD FAAD