The oral health of older people in acute hospitals has rarely been studied. Hospital admission provides a prime opportunity for identification and rectification of problems, and oral health promotion. This two-part article explores oral hygiene and mouth care provision for older adults in acute hospitals. The first article presents the findings of a literature review exploring oral and dental disease in older adults, the importance of good oral health and mouth care, and the current situation. Searches of electronic databases and the websites of relevant professional health service bodies in the UK were undertaken to identify articles and guidelines.
The literature shows a high prevalence of oro-dental disease in this population, with many known detrimental effects, combined with suboptimal oral hygiene and mouth care provision in acute hospitals. Several guidelines exist, although the emphasis on oral health is weaker than other aspects of hospital care. Older adults admitted to acute hospitals have a high burden of oro-dental disease and oral and mouth care needs, but care provision tends to be suboptimal. The literature is growing, but this area is still relatively neglected. Great potential exists to develop oral and mouth care in this context. The second part of this article explores clinical recommendations.
Nursing Older People. 29, 9, 26-31. doi: 10.7748/nop.2017.e947aCorrespondence
This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated softwareConflict of interest
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Received: 21 April 2017
Accepted: 08 August 2017
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