Objectives: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of oral care interventions on stroke patients in the intensive care unit (ICU). Oral hygiene levels, periodontal health, and presence of Candida were evaluated in patients who received an oral care intervention and control patients who did not receive the intervention.
Methods: In this study, 22 stroke patients who were admitted to the ICU between June 2011 and August 2012 underwent oral examinations and were provided with an oral care intervention that included tooth brushing with an interdental brush and the use of a chlorhexidine mouthwash (oral care group), while 21 patients who were admitted to the ICU during the same period did not receive the oral care intervention but underwent oral examination and served as controls (non-oral care group). In the oral care group, oral care was performed once a day for 1-5 weeks according to the general health of the patient. The patients in the oral care group underwent oral examination before and after the oral care intervention. Plaque index, gingival index, clinical attachment loss (CAL), and presence of Candida were evaluated in both the groups.
Results: The plaque index and gingival index of the oral care group were significantly lower than those of the non-oral care group; however, no significant difference in CAL was observed. The levels of Candida in the oral care group were lower than those in the non-oral care group. However, no significant intergroup difference was observed in the levels of Candida.
Conclusions: Oral care interventions improved oral health, including oral hygiene and periodontal health, of stroke patients in the ICU. Therefore, this study showed that oral care interventions can be effectively used to improve the oral health of stroke patients in the ICU.