Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

Oral Signs and Symptoms Associated with Patient Stressors in the Intensive Care Setting

Stressor

Signs

Symptoms

Mechanical ventilation and oxygen therapy

Dry mouth

  • Dry, red mucosa and depapilated, lobulated or fissured tongue
  • Dry, cracked lips
  • Build up of debris in mouth
  • Burning sensation
  • Dryness
  • Difficulty swallowing

Drug Therapy

Immunisuppresion Change in Flora

  • White plaques and inflammation associated with Candida albicans, herpetic ulcers, halitosis
  • Pain or discomfort
  • Halitosis

 

Xerostomia

  • Decreased salivary flow
  • Dry, red mucosa and depapilated, lobulated or fissured tongue
  • Dry, cracked lips
  • Build up of debris in mouth
  • Burning sensation
  • Dryness
  • Difficulty swallowing

Therapeutic dehydration

Xerostomia

  • See above
  • See above

 

Clinical Management
Oral Health: Nursing Assessment and Intervention
Point of Care Resources