Oral Care and the Elderly The purpose of this report is to review the normal environment of the oropharyngeal cavity, examine its potential role in the development of pneumonia, and examine the beneficial effects of oral care in the prevention of pneumonia among the sick and elderly. The oropharynx is a very diverse environment of ... Article
Article  |   March 01, 2008
Oral Care and the Elderly
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • John R. Ashford
    Tennessee State University Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
  • Michelle Skelley
    SA Swallowing Services, Nashville, TN
Article Information
Swallowing, Dysphagia & Feeding Disorders / Special Populations / Older Adults & Aging / Articles
Article   |   March 01, 2008
Oral Care and the Elderly
SIG 13 Perspectives on Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia), March 2008, Vol. 17, 19-26. doi:10.1044/sasd17.1.19
SIG 13 Perspectives on Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia), March 2008, Vol. 17, 19-26. doi:10.1044/sasd17.1.19
Abstract

The purpose of this report is to review the normal environment of the oropharyngeal cavity, examine its potential role in the development of pneumonia, and examine the beneficial effects of oral care in the prevention of pneumonia among the sick and elderly. The oropharynx is a very diverse environment of structures, functions, and ecology. Normal bacterial florae existing in this environment are limited in their efforts to colonize in the moist oral tissues by immune properties present in saliva and mucous. Lack of oral maintenance or the occurrence of a severe illness may provide an opportunity for these pathogens to colonize and multiply. Aspiration of certain oral pathogens into the lower respiratory tract has been associated with the development of pneumonia leading to illness complications and death in some elderly or sick persons. Oral care using brushes and oral rinses have been shown to significantly reduce pneumonia development and fever in the sick and elderly populations. An important new role of speech-language pathologists is to assert themselves as practitioners and advocates of better oral health with these populations.

Become a SIG Affiliate
Pay Per View
Entire SIG 13 Perspectives on Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia) content & archive
24-hour access
This Issue
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access
We've Changed Our Publication Model...
The 19 individual SIG Perspectives publications have been relaunched as the new, all-in-one Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups.