Hospital patients who brush their teeth while in recovery may reduce their risk of developing a life-threatening infection.
A new study has found good dental health, even among unconscious patients, can stop the onset of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP), a lung infection that develops in 15 percent of people who are ventilated.
Nurses at Tel Aviv University discovered the benefit of patients who brushed their teeth while in hospitals reduced the risk of pneumonia by as much as 50 percent.
"Pneumonia is a big problem in hospitals everywhere, even in the developed world. Patients who are incubated can be contaminated with pneumonia only two to three days after the tube is put in place," said Ofra Raanan, chief researcher in the study.
Practicing dental care in hospitals may be especially important for unconscious patients. Currently, nurses use a suction device to remove secretions from the mouth and throat. The researchers urged hospital staff to dd tooth brushing to the regular routine of dental care for patients.
Approximately 26,000 American who rely on a mechanical ventilator develop serious infections every year.
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