New study looks at oral health and nutrition among nursing home residents – Crane Library Web Pick of the Week

BioMed_Central.svg_Oral health among nursing home residents is often poor due to age and limited access to dental care, which may be a symptom and cause of poor overall health and nutritional status1. However, oral health care support in nursing homes is often limited, resulting in poor oral hygiene and oral health2, 3. A Canadian study notes that in their most recent shift, 59 % of the care aides surveyed felt rushed when doing mouth care and 19 % left mouth care undone4. Many long-term care residents are unable to practice good oral hygiene themselves due to physical impairments or cognitive disabilities.

With these concerns in mind, a new study was performed to assess oral and nutritional status of nursing home residents in Germany. The aim was to show potential associations between oral status, other factors (dementia, age, smoking) and the risk for malnutrition in this population.

The results of the study showed that dementia was a strong predictor for risk of malnutrition in nursing home residents. Further studies are needed in order to determine the possible role of oral health as co-factor for malnutrition in dementia5.

To read the full study, click on the following link:

1 Saunders, M.J., Stattmiller, S.P., Kirk, K.M. Oral health issues in the nutrition of institutionalized elders. J Nutr Elder. 2007; 26: 39-58.
2 Fitzpatrick, J. Oral health care needs of dependent older people: Responsibilities of nurses and care staff. J Adv Nurs. 2000; 32: 1325-32.
3 De Visschere, L., Grooten, L., Theuniers, G., Vanobbergen, J.N. Oral hygiene of elderly people in longterm care institutions- a cross sectional study. Gerodontology 2006; 23: 195-204.
4 Knopp-Sihota, J.A., Niehaus, L., Squires, J.E., Norton, P.G., Estabrooks, C.A. Factors associated with rushed and missed resident care in western Canadian nursing homes: A cross-sectional survey of health care aides. J. Clin. Nurs. 2015; 24: 2815-25.
5 Ziebolz, D., Werner, C., Schmalz, G., Nitschke, I., Haak, R., Mausberg, R.F., Chenot, J.F. Oral health and nutritional status in nursing home residents- Results of an explorative cross-sectional pilot study. BMC Geriatrics 2017; 17(1): 39.

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