Oral health collaboration focuses on improving patient outcomes in ICU

14 Jun 2022
Emeritus Professor Laurence Walsh, Dr Claudia Lopez Silva and Professor Saso Ivanovski

A new collaborative project collaboration will kick off mid-year to discover how the health outcome of patients in intensive care can be improved through improved oral hygiene.

Dr Claudia Lopez Silva, who works at the Oral Health Centre as a Discipline Lead Special Needs Dentistry at UQ's School of Dentistry and as a Dental Specialist at Metro North Oral Health Services – said the mouth was a key area for microorganisms to develop which could cause infections in other parts of the body.

“Bacteria found in dental plaque can increase the risk of respiratory tract infections especially in critically ill patients on mechanical ventilation,” Dr Lopez Silva said.

“For patients in intensive care, it is important that mouth care is performed regularly, to get the balance right and prevent infections from developing.

“By improving oral hygiene in vulnerable patients in the ICU, it is expected that the rate of respiratory infections will be reduced and also the need for these patients to receive antibiotics.”

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