Frequent Oral Care
Is Important
1. The oral cavity is assessed initially and daily
by the Registered Nurse.
2. Unconscious or intubated patients are
provided oral care every 2-4 hours and
3. Intubated patients will be assessed to
determine the need for removal of
oropharyngeal secretions every 8 hours as
well as prior to repositioning the tube or
deflation of the cuff.
1. Set up suction equipment.
2. Position patient’s head to the side or place
in semi-fowlers.
3. Provide suction, as needed, in intubated patients to remove oropharyngeal
secretions that can migrate down the tube and settle on top of the cuff.
4. Brush teeth using suction toothbrush and small amounts of water and alcohol free
antiseptic oralrinse.
4.1 Brush for approximately one to two minutes.
4.2 Exert gentle pressure while moving in short horizontal or circular strokes.
5. Gently brush the surface of the tongue.
6. Use suction swab to clean the teeth and tongue if brushing causes discomfort
or bleeding.
6.1 Place swab perpendicular to gum line, applying gentle mechanical action
for one to two minutes.
6.2 Turn swab in clockwise rotation to remove mucous and debris.
7. Apply mouth moisturizer inside mouth.
8. Apply lip balm if needed.
Revisions to Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital Oral Care Policy and Procedure, from “The Effect of a Comprehensive Oral Care Protocol on Patients at Risk for Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia,” Journal of Advocate Health Care. 4(1): 27-30,
spring/summer 2002.
© 2006 Sage Products, Inc.
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