The short-term effects of various oral care methods in dependent elderly: Comparison between toothbrushing, tongue cleaning with sponge brush and wiping on oral mucous membrane by chlorhexidine

Kazuhisa Tashiro, Tamiko Katoh, Nobuo Yoshinari, Kaname Hirai, Nobuyuki Andoh, Kakuma Makii, Koichiro Matsuo, Tadashi Ogasawara

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Objectives: To explore the short-term effects from toothbrushing, tongue cleaning with sponge brush and wiping on oral mucous membrane by chlorhexidine. Background: Numerous reports have been seen in recent years proving the effectiveness of mouth cleaning with a toothbrush for the prevention of respiratory infections among the dependent elderly. However, the short-term effects from each oral care method have not yet been clarified. Hence, an investigation was conducted by having each subject independently perform various oral care methods for five consecutive days. Materials and Methods: The subjects consisted of 12 assistance-dependent elderly who have difficulties with tooth brushing by themselves, have 10 or more residual teeth and are not yet using plate dentures. After the pre-intervention examination, each of the following oral care methods were performed on the same subject on an approximately three week basis: 1) Tooth brushing 2)Tongue cleaning with sponge brush 3)Wiping on oral mucous with sponge brush by chlorhexidine. Each method was performed independently, once a day for 5 consecutive days and the subjects were reexamined on the sixth day for comparative verification. Results: Consequently, toothbrushing decreased the plaque index and gingival index significantly and an improvement of oral malodour was also acknowledged (p < 0.01). Tongue cleaning with a sponge brush decreased the tongue coat score significantly (p < 0.05) and oral malodour was also improved (p < 0.01). Wiping on oral mucous with a sponge brush soaked in chlorhexidine significantly decreased opportunistic infections in the pharynx region (p < 0.05). Conclusions: It was suggested that the use of not only a toothbrush but also chlorhexidine gluconate may be indicated for dependent elderly people in whom pathogens of opportunistic infection are detected.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 01-06-2012


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Dentistry(all)
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Ageing

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