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Oral Health and Hospital-Acquired Pneumonia

The U.S. spends an average of $6.5 billion each year to treat patients who suffer from pneumonia. Pneumonia currently has the highest morbidity and mortality rates of all nosocomial infections, is hypothesized to account for 15% of all hospital-acquired illnesses and is responsible for 13 to 48% of all nursing home-associated illnesses. For years, researchers have tried to develop methods to prevent pneumonia because of its detrimental effects on the body, but only in the last decade have they been able to uncover possible methods to do so. Inadequate oral hygiene care is one of the ways that elderly patients contract hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP). Proper oral disease prevention could possibly be considered the standard of care in long-term stay facilities to reduce and prevent elderly patients from contracting HAP. The purpose of this literature review is to explore the relationship between oral health care practices and HAP.