Hospitalisation impacts on oral hygiene: an audit of oral hygiene in a metropolitan health service

Rachael Danckert, Anna Ryan, Virginia Plummer, Cylie Williams

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13 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Poor oral health has been associated with systemic diseases, morbidity and mortality. Many patients in hospital environments are physically compromised and rely upon awareness and assistance from health professionals for the maintenance or improvement of their oral health. This study aimed to identify whether common individual and environment factors associated with hospitalisation impacted on oral hygiene.
Methods: Data were collected during point prevalence audits of patients in the acute and rehabilitation environments on three separate occasions. Data included demographic information, plaque score, presence of dental hygiene products, independence level and whether nurse assistance was documented in the health record. Results: Data were collected for 199 patients. A higher plaque score was associated with not having a toothbrush (p = 0.002), being male (p = 0.007), being acutely unwell (p = 0.025) and requiring nursing assistance for oral hygiene (p = 0.002). There was fair agreement between the documentation of requiring assistance for oral care and the patient independently able to perform oral hygiene (ICC = 0.22).
Conclusion: Oral hygiene was impacted by factors arising from hospitalisation, for those without a toothbrush and male patients of acute wards. Establishment of practices that increase awareness and promote good oral health should be prioritised.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-134
Number of pages6
JournalScandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016


  • audit
  • dental
  • hospital
  • independence
  • nursing
  • plaque
  • quantitative

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