Overview: Despite the well-established association between good oral hygiene and the prevention of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP), the importance of mouth care in infection control is seldom recognized. The authors discuss the pathophysiology of VAP and why oral care is crucial to its prevention. They also provide an evidence-based, step-by-step guide to providing optimal oral care for intubated patients. © 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. All rights reserved.