BioScience Trends. 2022;16(1):7-19. (DOI: 10.5582/bst.2022.01046)

What does oral care mean to society?

Maruoka Y, Michiwaki Y, Sekiya H, Kurasawa, Y, Natsume N


Oral care is defined in a narrow sense as cleaning of the teeth, oral cavity, and dentures, and in a broad sense as the maintenance of oral functions (feeding, swallowing, chewing, speech, aesthetics, etc.), dental treatment, feeding and swallowing training, and articulation training. In the past, it was recognized as simply cleaning the mouth, but the concept of oral care has gradually expanded, and many studies and surveys have been conducted in cooperation with various other professions. As a result, oral health care is involved not only in the prevention of pneumonia, but also in the onset and suppression for severity of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, some malignant tumors, cerebrovascular diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, dementia, etc. It is also a powerful supportive therapy in cancer treatment. In the terminal stages of life, oral health care can help people to maintain their dignity by continuing to consume food orally until the end of their lives, and in times of disaster, oral health care has been found to be as important as attention to deep vein thrombosis. It has also been found to be effective in preventing severe diseases such as COVID-19. And, although it has not been discussed much, it has been found to have medical and economic benefits such as reducing the duration of hospitalization and treatment costs. This article reviews the results of research to date.

KEYWORDS: oral care, supportive therapy, perioperative oral management, economic benefit

Full Text: