Treloar and Stechmiller outlined the oral care of a patient who is orally intubated. Proper oral care in the intensive care unit (ICU) can reduce nosocomial infections and other complications. The authors are from the University of Florida in Gainesville.



(1) objects that might be aspirated into the lungs

(2) oral hygiene to reduce the risk of nosocomial pneumonia

(3) excessive dryness (xerostomia)

(4) trauma to tongue and cheek


Daily inspections:

(1) Inspect the mouth for damaged or loosened teeth (secondary to trauma, intubation or decay).

(2) Inspect the lips, tongue and oral surfaces for evidence of traumatic injuries.

(3) Inspect the mucosa for moisture with a tongue blade (blade will stick if the mouth is dry).

(4) Inspect the gums for signs of gingivitis.

(5) Inspect the teeth for accumulation of plaque and debris.

(6) Inspect the mouth for signs of bacterial or fungal overgrowth.

(7) Inspect the mouth and lips for signs of vesicles or mucosal ulcerations.



(1) Clean the oral surfaces daily to remove plaque and debris.

(2) Consider ways to reduce the proliferation of oral bacteria between cleanings (such as the use of mouthwash).

(3) Perform bacterial and fungal cultures if there are signs of infection or overgrowth.

(4) Review medications that may reduce saliva flow.


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