Using a controlled pre/post study design, we investigated the effects of professional mechanical cleaning of the oral cavity with benzethonium chloride, interdental brushes, and hydrogen peroxide on the number of oral bacteria and postoperative complications among esophageal cancer patients in an intensive care unit. Before surgery, 44 patients with esophageal cancer were recruited at Okayama Hospital from January through August 2015. The control group (n = 23) received routine oral hygiene care in the intensive care unit. The intervention group (n = 21) received intensive interdental cleaning with benzethonium chloride solution and tongue cleaning with hydrogen peroxide. The number of oral bacteria on the tongue surface and plaque index were significantly lower in the intervention group than in the control group on postoperative days 1 and 2 (P < 0.05). Additionally, the number of days with elevated fever during a 1-week period was significantly lower in the intervention group than in the control group (P = 0.037). As compared with routine oral hygiene, a new oral hygiene regimen comprising benzethonium chloride, interdental brushes, and hydrogen peroxide significantly reduced the number of oral bacteria and days with elevated fever in patients with esophageal cancer.
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