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Arch Gerontol Geriatr. 2007 Mar-Apr;44(2):119-24. Epub 2006 May 24.

Colonization of dental plaque by respiratory pathogens in dependent elderly.

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  • 1Division of Oral and Dental Surgery, Department of Advanced Medicine, National Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology, 36-3 Gengo, Morioka, Obu, Japan. yasusumi@ncgg.go.jp


Pneumonia can be a life-threatening infection, especially in the elderly, and it is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality. The purpose of this study was to assess the existence of oral infectious pathogens potentially causing the respiratory disease in the dependent elderly. The dental plaques of 138 dependent elderly were examined to identify microorganisms by the culture method. Twenty-one species of microorganisms were detected in the dental plaques in this study. In 89 cases out of 138 (64.5%), potential respiratory pathogens colonized in the dental plaques of the dependent elderly. The results of the present study revealed that bacteria that commonly cause respiratory infection colonized in dental plaques of the aged, dependent subjects. Therefore, dental plaques must be considered a specific reservoir of colonization and subsequent aspiration pneumonia in dependent elderly.

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