Regular tooth brushing reduced the risk of hospital-acquired pneumonia and death


The incidence of hospital-acquired pneumonia and mortality were lower among patients in intensive care units who brushed their teeth daily. A particularly pronounced effect was shown by brushing the teeth of patients on mechanical ventilation.

Scientists from the University of Basel in Switzerland, Harvard Graduate Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston examined the association of daily tooth brushing with the incidence of hospital-acquired pneumonia and other adverse outcomes. The study results were published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

Brushing teeth in intensive care unit patients reduced the risk of hospital-acquired pneumonia by 33% and reduced the risk of death by 19%. The most pronounced risk reduction was observed among patients receiving invasive mechanical ventilation (MV).

Researchers found that brushing teeth in intensive care unit patients was associated with fewer days on a ventilator and shorter length of stay in the intensive care unit. However, increasing the frequency of tooth brushing did not affect patient outcomes or length of hospital stay outside the intensive care unit or the use of antibiotics.




Data from 2786 hospitalized adult patients were analyzed. Comparisons were made between invasively ventilated patients who brushed their teeth daily and those who did not brush their teeth twice a day or more often. The incidence of hospital-acquired pneumonia, in-hospital and intensive care unit mortality, duration of mechanical ventilation, hospitalization and antibiotic use were assessed.



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