In a report published in JCO Oncology Practice, researchers have detailed the creation of a novel pediatric oncodental team to prevent oral-systemic infection in high-risk children with cancer.

The collaboration is between oncologists and pediatric dentists as part of the central line-associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI) Prevention Task Force at the Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Center in Houston, Texas.

“Recognizing the persistent incidence of oral pathogen [mucosal barrier injury]-CLABSIs, the Task Force created a novel pediatric oncodental team to consistently round on selected patients to provide more consistent and focused proactive oral care,” explained the team.


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The pediatric oncodental team established a systematic approach for increasing oral surveillance and treatment in high-risk patients, such as those undergoing bone marrow transplantation. This includes having supervised pediatric dental residents participate in scheduled oncology rounds.

The researchers also created a permanent oral health educator (OHE) position. The OHE is a trained dental hygienist and is tasked with consistently providing education and oral health maintenance, bridging the gap between medicine and dentistry in the oncology department.

The team reported that after hiring the OHE, they received consistently positive subjective feedback from families regarding dental education and ease of adhering to recommended dental care, from nurses about education on different products available for patients, and from dental residents regarding education of the complexities of caring for immunosuppressed patients.

“Our hope is that the OHE role will become a known standard of care for inpatient pediatric cancer care delivery for any capable institution,” the researchers concluded in their report. The primary limitation of the study was the preliminary and subjective nature of the reported results.

Disclosure: Some study authors declared affiliations with biotech, pharmaceutical, or device companies. Please see the original reference for a full list of authors’ disclosures. 

Reference

Bledsaw K, Prudowsky ZD, Yang E, et al. A novel oncodental collaborative team: integrating expertise for central line-associated bloodstream infection prevention in pediatric oncology patients. JCO Oncol Pract. Published online September 22, 2022. doi:10.1200/OP.22.00302

This article originally appeared on Hematology Advisor