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Don't Neglect Brushing Your Teeth While in the Hospital

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Genesis hospitals in the Quad Cities area are learning that patients who brush their teeth and use mouthwash are less likely to get pneumonia.


Over the past two years, patients have been given oral health kits during their stays at five local hospitals.

Genesis Health System received a $232,000 grant from Delta Dental for the study and to buy the kits.

Annette Holst
Genesis Health System
Annette Holst

Registered Nurse, Annette Holst, is the Nursing Professional Development Specialist at Genesis. She trained staff to distribute the oral health kits and encourage patients to brush their teeth and rinse their mouths more frequently. So far, eight fewer inpatients have contracted hospital-acquired pneumonia, saving $40,000 per patient. That means Genesis saved a total of $320,000.

Holst says the health system plans to continue the study on a smaller scale next year.

Genesis also worked with the Scott County Health Department's I-Smile program to introduce oral care education in nursing homes. And it hosted a conference about the oral care and health care connection last week in the Quad Cities.

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