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Oral health decline in patients after stroke: a qualitative study


Introduction To develop and implement effective oral care interventions for patients after stroke, there is a need to understand the causes behind the decline in their oral health. This qualitative study was, therefore, undertaken to explore experiences and views of health service providers about the causes of oral health decline in this group of patients.

Methods A purposively selected sample of healthcare service providers who work in two NHS Trusts in the North of England were interviewed utilising a semi-structured interview technique. Interviews were conducted with the assistance of a topic guide and continued until data saturation (n = 30) was reached. The constant comparative approach was used to analyse the data.

Results Two major factors, perceived by the participants, were thought to cause oral health decline in patients after stroke. Post-stroke neurological deficits resulting in oral-related functional disturbances was the first. The second was the barriers leading to difficulties in performing or receiving daily oral care. These barriers were related to the patients, their service providers, or the environment in which care is being delivered.

Conclusions This study described the major factors affecting the oral health of patients after stroke, which can offer a starting point for developing effective oral care interventions for them.

Key points

  • Explores experiences and views of health service providers about the causes of oral health decline in patients after stroke.

  • Identifies post-stroke neurological deficits that can affect oral-related functions.

  • Discusses barriers to oral care in patients after stroke.

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The current work is based on work detailed within the first author's PhD thesis, submitted to Newcastle University, funded from the bench fees of PhD at School of Dental Sciences, Newcastle University, provided by Saudi Arabian Cultural Bureau in London.

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Authors and Affiliations



Fahad BaHammam contributed to conception, design, data acquisition and interpretation, drafted and critically revised the manuscript. Justin Durham, Bana Abdulmohsen, Rebecca Wassall and Giles I. McCracken contributed to conception, design, data interpretation, and critically revised the manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Fahad BaHammam.

Ethics declarations

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval before executing the study was granted by the Faculty of Medical Sciences Ethics Committee at Newcastle University, UK (FMS-EC 1609/6994/2018). Written informed consent was obtained before participant interviews.

The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.

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BaHammam, F., Durham, J., Abdulmohsen, B. et al. Oral health decline in patients after stroke: a qualitative study. Br Dent J 235, 881–885 (2023).

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