Maintaining your oral health remains a life long commitment to brushing and flossing and receiving regular dental checkups and exams. However, when people become sick and require hospitalization, they begin to focus less on maintaining their oral health, according to a new study. New research suggests that oral health deteriorates when patients stay in hospitals and is associated with an increase in senior patient malnutrition.
Published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology 1, the study found evidence that suggests that many patients are having their oral health overlooked when hospitalized, resulting in the potential for serious consequences to arise.
As part of the study, researchers examined the oral health of 162 patients after admittance and then followed up two week later. During the second exam, researchers noted that patients were suffering from increased levels of plaque and gum disease. Researchers also discovered that the hospitals surveyed had no existing policies in place for maintaining patient’s oral hygiene routines and that no hospital staff members took the time to monitor or assess patients’ oral health during their hospitalization.
A separate French study examining the oral health of senior patients discovered a number of problems following hospital admittance. Researchers found that poor oral health could be linked to negative effect on patients’ nutritional status, which highlights the need for better dietary choices for patients.
Earlier studies had previously shown a link between poor oral health and a negative effect on a patients’ nutritional status.
The study pointed to a number of reasons why patients suffer a decline in oral health during hospitalization, including the low priority paid to their oral health by hospital staff and the implementation of improper oral hygiene routines.
The results of this study underscore the need for patients and health care workers to have an open conversation about the need to improve and maintain patients’ oral hygiene routines during hospitalization. Without oral health becoming a focal point of care, many patients face the distinct possibility of suffering long-term oral health problems following a hospital stay.
If you have any questions about your oral health, please contact our office today and talk to your choice for dentist in Beaverton Oregon; Dr. Walker.