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Nursing Research and Practice
Volume 2012, Article ID 372617, 7 pages
Review Article

Oral Health and Hygiene Content in Nursing Fundamentals Textbooks

School of Nursing, The Pennsylvania State University, 201 Health and Human Development East, University Park, PA 16802, USA

Received 26 November 2011; Accepted 5 February 2012

Academic Editor: Mary George

Copyright © 2012 Rita A. Jablonski. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The purpose of this paper is to describe the quantity and quality of oral hygiene content in a representative sample of before-licensure nursing fundamentals textbooks. Seven textbooks were examined. Quantity was operationalized as the actual page count and percentage of content devoted to oral health and hygiene. Quality of content was operationalized as congruency with best mouth care practices. Best mouth care practices included evidence-based and consensus-based practices as published primarily by the American Dental Association and supported by both published nursing research and review articles specific to mouth care and published dental research and review articles specific to mouth care. Content devoted to oral health and hygiene averaged 0.6%. Although the quality of the content was highly variable, nearly every textbook contained some erroneous or outdated information. The most common areas for inaccuracy included the use of foam sponges for mouth care in dentate persons instead of soft toothbrushes and improper denture removal.