Preventive dental visits reduce ventilator-associated pneumonia risk by 22%, DentaQuest finds

Patients who maintain routine dental care are less likely to acquire ventilator-associated pneumonia, according to a recent DentaQuest report.

Many COVID-19 patients are placed on ventilators to survive during their hospital stays, and their depressed immune systems make them highly susceptible to infections from bacteria that grows in the oral cavity and travels to the lungs, according to the report.

To learn more about the relationship between oral health and decreased infection risks, DentaQuest used the IBM Watson MarketScan Medicaid Database to analyze inpatient administrative claims data for Medicaid ICU patients from 2016 to 2018. It found patients with at least one preventive dental visit within three years of being placed on a ventilator are 22 percent less likely to be diagnosed with ventilator-associated pneumonia than those who did not.

The study also found Black patients are 39 percent more likely to be diagnosed with ventilator-associated pneumonia than white patients and men are 20 percent more likely to be diagnosed with ventilator-associated pneumonia than women.

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