How Provision Of Oral Health Care Affects The Risk Of Respiratory Infections

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How Provision of Oral Health Care Affects the Risk of Respiratory Infections in Institutionalized Elderly Persons Requiring Full-time Care
Introduction
Due to aging, many elderly adults suffer a deterioration in physical capacity and mental acuity, rendering them unable to care for themselves in general and their oral health in particular. Researches show that respiratory pathogens reside in dental plaque (Russell, Boylan, Kaslick, Scannapieco, & Katz, 1999; Scannapieco, Stewart, & Mylotte, 1992), which is implicated in aspiration pneumonia (Kuyama, Sun, & Yamamoto, 2010). Aspiration pneumonia (AP) is defined as pneumonia resulting from aspiration of oropharyngeal contents (such as dental plaque mixed with saliva) into the lower respiratory tract; this occurs almost exclusively in the elderly who have suffered disturbances in swallowing when bedridden (The committee for The Japanese Respiratory Society guidelines in management of respiratory infections, 2004). Kuyama et al. (2010) attribute this risk in the elderly from a diminution of mucociliary clearance, changes in respiratory mechanism and depressed immune response in the aged. This is a serious issue because respiratory infections such as influenza and pneumonia in the elderly are common causes of death (Abe et al., 2006; Adachi, Ishihara, Abe, Okuda, & Ishikawa, 2002; Barnes, 2014). Thus, it is hypothesized that lowering oropharyngeal bacterial count by providing good oral health care in the elderly will reduce the…

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