Management of Patients With Oral and Esophageal Disorders
Because digestion normally begins in the mouth, adequate nutrition is related to good dental health and the general condition of the mouth. Any discomfort or adverse condition in the oral cavity can affect a person’s nutritional status. Changes in the oral cavity may influence the type and amount of food ingested as well as the degree to which food particles are properly mixed with salivary enzymes. Disease of the mouth or tongue can interfere withspeech and thus affect communication and self-image. Esophageal problems related to swallowing can also adversely affect food and fluid intake, thereby jeopardizing general health and well-being.Given the close relationship between adequate nutritional intake and the structures of the upper gastrointestinal tract (lips, mouth,teeth, pharynx, esophagus), health teaching can help prevent disorders associated with these structures.
The oral cavity, which includes the lips, mouth, and gums, is subject to many disorders and diseases. Table 35-1 reviews common abnormalities, their possible causes, and nursing management. As identified in a report by the U.S. Surgeon General in 2000, oral health is a very important component of a person’s physical and psychological sense of well-being. Severe periodontal disease affects approximately 14% of adults 45 to 64 years of age and 23% of adults 65 to 74 years of age (US Department of Health and Human Services, 2000).
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