Preoperative Oral Care May Reduce Complications From Cancer Surgery
Visiting the dentist’s office before undergoing major cancer surgery may reduce a patient’s risk of complications, according to a Japanese retrospective cohort study.
Visiting the dentist’s office before undergoing major cancer surgery may reduce a patient’s risk of complications, according to a Japanese retrospective cohort study. Published in the British Journal of Surgery, the paper, “Preoperative Oral Care and Effect on Postoperative Complications After Major Cancer Surgery,” reports that patients who visited an oral health professional were slightly less likely to develop postsurgical pneumonia or die within 30 days of surgery.
Using Japan’s nationwide administrative claims database, the researchers identified patients who were surgically treated for cancers of the head, neck, esophagus, stomach, lung, liver, colon or rectum between 2012 and 2015. The University of Tokyo investigators note that among the 509,000 subjects who had cancer surgery, 81,600 had also received preoperative oral care. When comparing this group with the remaining subjects, it was determined that preoperative oral care decreased pneumonia risk by 0.5%, and all-cause mortality within 30 days of surgery by 0.12%.
Although the preoperative oral care was not standardized, and no data were obtained on several potential confounders — including body mass index, smoking status and functional dependency — the team suggests oral care “as one option for preventing postoperative pneumonia, which can be precipitated by aspiration of oral and pharyngeal secretions.” The researchers also point out that oral health care has been found to reduce pneumonia risk for patients on ventilators.