Staff key to better resident oral health

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Improved caregiver education can help residents maintain oral health over longer periods, according to research published in Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology in September.

Researchers at the University Hospital Heidelberg in Germany reported that ultrasonic devices are promising for severely care-dependent residents who wear dentures, one of several interventions that can be “cheaply and easily” implemented.

The study included 14 nursing homes and 269 residents divided between a control — with ongoing, normal care — and an intervention group whose caregivers had special training and cared for dentures with ultrasonic devices.

Oral health was assessed at baseline and after six and 12 months with records on plaque control, gingival bleeding, denture hygiene and community rates of periodontal disease.

After six and 12 months, the intervention group saw improvements in denture hygiene and plaque control, researchers reported.

Those who were most care-dependent showed smaller improvements in plaque control, while the opposite was true for denture hygiene.