Brush Your Teeth Before Surgery To Prevent Pneumonia

Posted By Ben Goulding, 13 July, 2009 | permalink

Smile. Image: walkerraynaldmdIt’s coming up to your operation. You have a lot on your mind. Don’t forget your toothbrush, overnight pajamas, wash bag, magazine…and if there wasn’t enough to remember already, now you have to organize a trip to the dentist.

“A trip to the dentist?!” I hear you cry. Yes, that’s right. A new study has shown that having good oral hygiene decreases the risk of contracting pneumonia after major surgery.

Elderly people have a 20% higher risk of developing pneumonia after an operation, particularly after brain surgery. Brain surgery decreases gag and coughing reflexes, meaning that patients are not as able to filter out bacteria from their nose and mouth as well as before.

Almos Klenker from the University of Debrecen, Hungary, examined the oral hygiene of 23 elderly patients due to have a brain tumor removed. 5 of those patients contracted pneumonia within 48 hours of the operation, and it turned out that all of them had bad oral health.

If only they would have known…


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