Smiling Matters - Oral health care in care homes

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) report has detailed that from between October 2018 and January 2019 their dental inspectors attended 100 care homes inspections and spoke to many members of staff, people who use services and their families.

The report is what we found on those inspections, which includes examples of good, joined-up practice between care homes and dentists, although this was not common. This comes three years after the publication of NICE guidance on oral health in care homes.

Following the CQC’s report on the state of oral health in care homes across England, Professor Helen Craddock, RCSEd Dental Faculty Vice-Dean, said:

“This report reflects the situation that many Special Care Dentists and General Dental Practitioners (GDPs) see in practice.  It also reflects the reality that providing oral care for people living in care homes is often challenging.

Unfortunately it appears that providing oral care is not a priority in many care homes. 47% of staff within care homes have not received any training in oral health leading to a lack of understanding of the importance of good oral care for people's sense of wellbeing and also their general health.

Providing dental care to residents of care homes requires additional training, skills and equipment as well as additional time.  Improving access to GDPs is not enough. Services need to be led by specialist teams involving dentists with additional training, dental care professionals and oral health promotion and education. We strongly support the CQCs recommendations, particularly mandatory oral care training for care home staff and hope to see these recommendations implemented as quickly as possible.”

Review the full CQC report in detail here.

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