New resource helps to improve our oral health

Residents who live in care settings across Oxfordshire will be able to get additional support to improve their oral health with a new online toolkit.

Designed by Oxfordshire County Council, in collaboration with Community Dental Services, the new toolkit aims to improve oral health and offer practical advice to those who live and work in care settings.

Oxfordshire County Council has been working with Community Dental Services (CDS) since 2015 and engagement of care homes and their staff in oral care has always been a priority.

Dr Eunan O’Neil, Consultant in Public Health at Oxfordshire County Council said: “Good oral health is a key contributing factor in both our mental and physical wellbeing, regardless of age or situation.”

“This toolkit will help us to ensure that those who may need additional support with their mouth care, such as those who reside in residential care, are properly supported by our workforce.”

The online oral health toolkit was developed by Council and CDS to improve skills and knowledge of care home staff around the importance of daily mouth care as well as practical advice for those people who are dependent or need assistance in oral care techniques.

NICE guidelines, published in 2016, highlighted the need for Care Homes, managers and staff to be assessing mouth health and delivering invaluable mouth care to all residents.

This online tool can be used and accessed at a convenient time for all staff, designed to fit in with long hours and shifts to promote the importance of mouth care from induction to nursing level.

The toolkit has been trialled across the county, with all those who took part finding it easy to use and felt better prepared to provide mouth care.

Sue Jordan, Assistant Director Oral Health Improvement at Community Dental Services said “Being able to eat, speak and socialise with confidence contributes to everyone’s dignity and wellbeing. A comfortable and clean mouth requires a skilled workforce to support those that need a little extra help.

“The collaboration between Oxfordshire County Council and Community Dental Services CIC has resulted in an on-line toolkit, which starts the journey of providing a high standard of essential oral care for residents.”