Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

Nursing Best Practice Guidelines

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
Immunosupression
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

Jones, 2005 (p.7)