Effectiveness of an alcohol-free essential oil-containing mouthwash in institutionalised elders receiving long-term care: a feasibility study


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Abstract

Objectives:To conduct a feasibility study on investigating the effectiveness of an alcohol-free essential oil mouthwash (AF-EOMW) to reduce plaque accumulation and oral pathogen levels in institutionalised elders receiving long-term care and to obtain preliminary results.Background:Although simple, cost-effective strategies to improve oral hygiene in seniors such as the use of mouthwashes have been shown to reduce the risks of respiratory diseases, little information is available on the feasibility of implementing these measures.Methods:Twenty-five elderly participants with significant loss of autonomy were initially recruited and divided into two groups. A test group rinsed with an AF-EOMW twice a day, and a control group rinsed with tap water. Data on demographic characteristics, dental history and tobacco use were collected from a questionnaire. Problems encountered during recruitment and data collection were documented. Plaque index, denture cleanliness and salivary levels of several pathogens were measured at three time points: baseline (T0), day 22 (T1) and day 45 (T2).Results:Eighteen participants completed the study. Several problems were encountered during recruitment and execution of the study protocol. No significant differences in clinical or microbiological measures were found between the test group and controls at three time points (p > 0.05).Conclusion:This pilot study shows that, if sufficient logistical and financial resources are available, it is feasible to conduct randomised clinical trials in a seniors' facility. The use of an AF-EOMW to improve oral hygiene in seniors was not found to be superior to tap water. However, larger controlled clinical studies are needed to confirm these results.

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