Oral Care, Inflammatory Cytokines, and Aspiration Pneumonia in Elderly Persons

Yasuyuki Taooka, Takeshi Isobe, Yukari Tsubata, Megumi Hamaguchi, Shunichi Hamaguchi, Junya Inata, Hiroyuki Ito, Yuki Fukushiro


Aspiration pneumonia is one of the major causes of death for elderly persons. In nursing home-associated pneumonia (NHCAP), micro-aspiration, higher mortality, and antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections are well-known problems. In NHCAP cases, several factors on the host side are related to high mortality. The importance of daily oral care in elderly patients with dysphagia is also well recognized. Silent aspiration of bacteria-containing saliva and salivary pro-inflammatory cytokines produced by interdental plaque and periodontitis might stimulate lower respiratory inflammation and lead to aspiration pneumonia. However, the relationship between micro-aspiration and inflammatory cytokines produced in the lower respiratory tract remains uncertain. In this context, oral care, dental care, and the inhibitory effects of dental care on recurrent aspiration pneumonia in elderly persons will be discussed.

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