The Link Between Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia and the Mouth

Published 09/18/2020

The intersection of VAP, COVID-19, oral health, and equity 

A report from CareQuest Institute for Oral Health reinforces the connection between oral health and overall health and underscores the breadth of health issues — including ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) — that ongoing oral health care can protect against. Key findings from the report include:

  • Preventive dental visits decreased the likelihood of acquiring VAP. 
  • At least one preventive dental visit within three years reduced the likelihood of a VAP diagnosis by 22%. 
  • Black patients are more likely than white patients to be diagnosed with VAP. 

The report asserts that addressing social conditions, structural racism, access to care, oral health education and other factors may not only improve oral health outcomes but also reduce the risk for COVID-19, VAP and even death in Black communities.

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