Oral health worsens during hospital stays, suggests new study

By - Bad Breath Expert

SUMMARY:  Oral health deteriorates during periods of hospitalization, according to a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology.

Posted: August 19, 2014

oral health hospital stay Oral health deteriorates during periods of hospitalization, according to a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology. Researchers examined the oral health of 162 patients on arrival and two weeks later, discovering a rise in gum disease and levels of plaque. The bacteria in plaque wears down healthy gum tissue and may cause infections. In these cases, bad breath may be a red flag of underlying symptoms like gingivitis. When bed-ridden, taking care of one's teeth and gums may get placed on the back burner. But the main problem, researchers identified, is that many facilities have no policies in place for routine oral health practices, and no members of the health care teams assess patients' oral health conditions during the hospitalization. Besides watching out for gum disease symptoms, those who are sick, have the flu or a cold may come down with post nasal drip, where mucus runs down the back of the throat instead of through the nose. Post nasal drip is especially common when patients' sinuses are congested. Dr. Nigel Carter, chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, believes the study points to a need for brushing and flossing practices to become a greater priority during hospital stays. "In a challenging hospital environment it may be inevitable that oral care is seen as a low priority, but it is clear that more needs to be done," Carter explained. He also mentioned that family members, friends and other loved ones who visit the hospital may be able to help with that difference. "There are guidelines for the provision of oral care in hospital settings, but as the research points out, there is limited detail for carers," the doctor pointed out. "The help of close family and friends during hospital stays can make a difference to this aspect of their care and well-being and more should be done to encourage their involvement." Visitors could bring the patient's toothbrush, a pack of floss, alcohol-free mouthwash rinse and any other items necessary for oral hygiene. Hospital food upgrade? Diet plays another key role in both systemic and oral health, yet traditional hospital food falls far below desired fare. The food and drink you put into your mouth provides energy, but it also affects your teeth and gums - the body's gateway.The good news is that some hospitals throughout the country are beginning to make changes with customized menus that feature locally grown food and an emphasis on fruits and vegetables. UCLA Medical Center is using organic food, Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington, Vermont, serves antibiotic-free meat, and John Muir Medical Center in California now offers quinoa and brown rice, antibiotic-free meat and hormone-free dairy. Vegetarian and vegan options are offered in certain hospitals, too. "More than ever, patients are making the connection between chronic conditions and diet," Susan Levin, a registered dietitian with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, told U.S. News & World Report. Furthermore, many fast food restaurants have closed in hospitals. Having these junk options available in hospitals perpetuates the idea that this kind of food is OK to eat, Levin added. And they certainly work no wonders for your oral health. Greasy hamburgers, French fries and low-grade meat are full of fats and carbohydrates that break down in the mouth. Healthy food will be your biggest nutritional ally in these environments. To really up the ante, visitors could bring meals to the patient.

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please Note: The material on this site is provided for informational purposes only.  Always consult your health care professional before beginning any new therapy.

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