Journal Article

Geriatric Oral Health and Pneumonia Risk

Margaret Terpenning

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 40, issue 12, pages 1807-1810
Published in print June 2005 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online June 2005 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI:
Geriatric Oral Health and Pneumonia Risk

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The oral cavity is a complex microenvironment consisting of multiple bacterial and fungal species, their associated biofilms, and a cytokine milieu influenced by constant inflammatory stimulation. Multiple infectious consequences of poor oral health have been extensively described and primarily affect older adults. Probably the most common sequelae of poor oral health in aged persons is a risk of aspiration pneumonia. The risk of aspiration pneumonia is greatest when periodontal disease, dental caries, and poor oral hygiene are compounded by swallowing disease, feeding problems, and poor functional status. The effectiveness of oral hygiene interventions for preventing aspiration pneumonia and barriers to oral care of nursing home patients require additional study, but the current state of research in these areas is reviewed in this manuscript. The expense of aspiration pneumonia as a nursing home complication makes dental hygiene a potentially cost-saving intervention.

Journal Article.  2767 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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