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30 Nov 2023 | Oral Hygiene

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Toothbrushing lowers rates of pneumonia

A new study conducted by Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, USA examined whether daily toothbrushing among hospitalised patients is associated with lower rates of hospital-acquired pneumonia and other outcomes.


The team conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to determine the association between daily toothbrushing and hospital-acquired pneumonia. Using a variety of databases, the researchers collected and analysed randomised clinical trials from around the world that compared the effect of regular oral care with toothbrushing versus oral care without toothbrushing on the occurrence of hospital-acquired pneumonia and other outcomes. The team's analysis found that daily toothbrushing was associated with a significantly lower risk for hospital-acquired pneumonia and ICU mortality. In addition, the investigators identified that toothbrushing for patients in the ICU was associated with fewer days of mechanical ventilation and a shorter length of stay in the ICU. Most of the studies in the team's review explored the role of a teeth-cleaning regimen in adults in the ICU. Only two of the 15 studies included in the authors' analysis evaluated the impact of toothbrushing in non-ventilated patients. The researchers are hopeful that the protective effect of toothbrushing will extend to non-ICU patients but additional studies focusing on this population are needed to clarify if in fact this is the case.

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