Researchers: Dental plaque led to nursing-home residents' deaths

Share this article:

Researchers said nursing homes must help residents maintain clean teeth and dentures because germs found in dental plaque can make their way into the lungs and cause deadly pneumonia in elderly residents, according to a new study report.

U.S. researchers said they found clear evidence in eight patients who developed pneumonia while in the hospital that the condition was caused by their own dental plaque. This is the first time research has been able to find a link between dental hygiene and respiratory infection, according to lead researcher Dr. Ali El-Solh of the University at Buffalo in New York.

For the study, which is published in the latest issue of the Chest, researchers tested 49 nursing home residents who were admitted to a nearby hospital with a high risk of pneumonia and made molecular "fingerprints" of the bacteria found in each patient's mouth before he or she developed pneumonia.

Of the 49 patients, 28 had germs known to cause respiratory disease in their dental plaque samples. Of the 14 who eventually developed pneumonia, 10 of them had started out with respiratory disease-causing germs in their teeth.

Share this article:

More in News

Bill addressing admission status receives praise

A bill that would require hospitals to give patients a formal notice of their admission status has received strong support from healthcare associations.

Increased 'bed taxes' on nursing facilities warrant stricter federal oversight, report states

States have been increasingly taxing skilled nursing facilities and other healthcare providers to fund Medicaid in recent years, and federal authorities should look more closely at this trend, according to a government report released Tuesday.

Last chance: Tech Awards deadline arrives

Last chance: Tech Awards deadline arrives

There are hours left for innovative long-term care providers to enter the third annual McKnight's Excellence in Technology Awards. Submissions will be accepted until the stroke of midnight tonight.